ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the April 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] kyleri and Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "Fresh Air" square in my 4-1-17 card for the Month of Rainbows Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"A Curious Transfusion of Courage"

Nebuly discovered that living
in a vardo had its ups and downs.

Ups: seeing new places helped
keep him awake during the day,
and the swaying helped him
fall asleep while riding at night.
There was work to do at each
of the faires where they stopped.

Downs: hours of driving got tedious,
there was never very much room,
and arguments were atrocious with
no way to get away from each other.
He couldn't put down roots anywhere,
and meeting new people could be hard.

Other things varied more; sometimes
they found good places to stay, while
other times they spent the night in
a supermarket parking lot because
it was relatively safe, well lit, and
had extra bathrooms indoors.

It was different than anything that
Nebuly had ever done before, and
that had its pros and cons too.

Sometimes he loved it,
and other times he felt like
he was still living in the cracks
just like when he was homeless.

Between the Lyonesse Faire
in River City, Missouri and
the Midwinter Faire in Bluehill,
the vardo got a flat tire.

It took a long time
for them to pull over,
hoist the vardo on jacks,
find the bit of beer bottle,
and pull it out of the tire.

To Nebuly's surprise,
they didn't call for help.
Instead, Amergin fixed it
using a mechanic's plug kit.

"That's amazing," Nebuly said.
"Don't people usually take their car
to a shop for that sort of stuff?"

"My parents are tinkers, real ones,"
Amergin explained. "So I know
how to fix all kinds of things."

After that unplanned exertion,
Nebuly was so beat that he had
a hard time picking up his feet
enough to get up the steps.

"You worked hard," Marjoram said.
"Why don't you lie down and take a nap?
Amergin can drive for a while, and we'll
reach Bluehill by late afternoon."

"Don't let me sleep through it,"
Nebuly insisted. "I'll help make camp."

"As you wish," Marjoram said,
gently urging him onto the futon.

"Okay," Nebuly said.
He stretched out his legs
and closed his eyes.

It seemed like only a moment
before Amergin was shaking him
softly by the shoulder and saying,
"Wake up, Nebuly, we're here."

"M'up," Nebuly mumbled as he
hauled himself off the futon.

He took a few minutes to use
the tiny bathroom, splashing water
on his face to wake himself up.

Then he stepped outside.

"Welcome to Island Resort,"
Marjoram said from where she bent
over the beginnings of a campfire.
"This used to be an actual resort, but
it went broke and got parceled out.
Now the neighborhood association runs
the rental stuff like these parking pads
and the other camping areas."

In this sheltered spot, there was
no snow, but Nebuly could smell it,
cold and wet, in some hidden pocket.
The breeze was brisk, the sun bright
even as it angled toward dusk.

It was as if the fresh air
had a color all its own.

Nebuly took a deep breath and
let it out slowly, looking around
to see if he could figure out what
made the air seem so clean.

It held a particular tint of clarity,
as if it could catch and hold
the pale winter sunlight.

"Necht," said Amergin.

"What?" Nebuly said,
turning to face him.

"It's an Old Irish word for
the color of crisp winter air,"
Amergin said. "It means clear."

"It's beautiful," Nebuly said,
meaning the word and the fresh air
and everything else around.
"How can I help set up?"

"If you and Amergin level the vardo,
I can have supper ready in half an hour
to an hour from now," Marjoram said.

So Amergin pulled out boards
and bubble levels, leveling blocks
and wheel chocks. He and Nebuly
moved around so that they could
check from different angles.

With Amergin's experience,
it didn't take long to get their home
leveled and stabilized on the parking pad.

This was a good thing, because Nebuly
had little idea what he was doing,
even though he tried hard.

"It's okay," Amergin said,
patting him on the shoulder.
"I started learning this when I was,
hm, seven or eight and it took me
a while to get the hang of it, too."

"Yeah, I guess," Nebuly said
as he leaned against the vardo.

By then Marjoram had finished
setting up the five-can chili and
chipping some beef jerky into it.

"Why don't you take a walk
and relax a bit?" she said as she
started laying out the ingredients for
baked apples. "Later I'll be making
biscuits on a stick. You could help
by finding some nice thick sticks --
look for maple, hickory, or apple
at least as thick as your thumb."

"I can do that," Nebuly said.
There were trees everywhere;
surely some of them must be
safe for using with food.

"Got your knife?" Marjoram said,
using her own to slice the apples.
"You'll need it to whittle the ends."

Hers was an Italian antique with
a half-round pommel that could be
used as a pestle, which she had
received from her herbalism mentor.

Nebuly patted his pocket to confirm
the slim blade that Marjoram had given him.
It was simpler than hers, with a clip blade and
a spey blade inside a wooden handle.
"Yes, I have it, thanks," he said.

Marjoram was good at giving him
gentle reminders without making
a big deal of it, which really helped
him stay on track even if his mind
got fuzzy or sluggish at times.

So Nebuly set off through the woods,
ambling his way along the trails and
trying to identify the trees by their bark.

Climbing the slopes, he came into
less sheltered areas covered with snow.
There he found a stand of young trees,
some of them marked with signs.


Red Maple Coppice
Now Ready for Harvest
Take Only What You Need


Carefully Nebuly severed
three branches the width of
his thumb, which could be cut
in half to make six sticks for
roasting the biscuits.

Looking around, he saw
that it would be shorter
to get back to the campsite
by going over the ridge.

Up here, the maples and oaks
gave way to more evergreens, and
the air was sweet with their pitch.

Coming over the rocky edge,
Nebuly spied an orange cat
wearing a turquoise harness.

"Well hi there," said Nebuly.

"Hi yourself," said a voice
as the cat's owner popped
over the stony ridge.

He wasn't human, Nebuly
realized at once. Tiny horns
sprouted from his forehead, and
large mobile ears poked out
through his long brown hair.

"I see you've already met
Marmalade," the man said.

"Brrrt," said the cat, stropping
himself on Nebuly's legs and
winding the leash around them.

"Um, yes," the younger man said.
"I'm here with some friends, and
we caravan together. I'm Nebuly."

"Pleased to meet you. My name
is Keras," the stranger said. "As
you can see, I'm a faun -- part
angora goat, actually. I'm here
to work as a show soup."

"Wow," said Nebuly.
"That's really brave."

He couldn't imagine making
such a spectacle of himself,
although he knew show soups
were essential for outreach.

"I suppose some people might
see it that way," Keras said.
"For me, it's just a way to meet
new people. You smell interesting."

Nebuly flinched, hard enough
to make his branches clack together.
He knew that the myrstag's musk
clung to him even in human form,
but that didn't mean that people
should be so rude about his scent.

Besides, Keras smelled almost as rank.

"You don't have to rub it in,"
Nebuly said, backing away.

"I'm sorry," Keras said.
"That was my attempt to be
discreet instead of remarking
directly on your ... nature."

"There's nothing natural
about it," Nebuly growled,
waving at his lanky body.
"I wasn't born messed up,
I was made this way."

The big ears flapped in
agitation. "Did someone hurt
you?" Keras said gently. "If you
want a safe person to talk with,
I work with special needs and
know trauma-informed care."

Nebuly glanced over his shoulder
at the trail. He could just turn around
and walk away, but this was the first chance
that he'd had in a long time to speak with
another soup, let alone with one who
had relevant skills and experience.

Besides, something about Keras
made Nebuly wish he could trust him,
even though his past torture had
left his instincts in ribbons.

"Yeah, no, the last time I tried that,
it ended in disaster," Nebuly said.

"You mentioned traveling companions,"
said Keras. "Are they unsympathetic,
or just not getting along very well?"

"No, they're great," Nebuly said,
leaping to the defense of his friends.
"I tried therapy for a while. It started well,
but then everything went off the rails."

"That's too bad," Keras said.
"Some people find therapy
very helpful. I sure did."

"You?" Nebuly said. "But
you -- you're a show soup,
I thought that meant you have
to be really comfortable
with what you are."

"I am now," Keras said
with a nod. "I wasn't always.
I've been a bit different all along,
but the goat traits didn't become
quite so obvious until my teens.
Therapy, support groups, and
a good soup mentor helped me
to cope with the changes."

"Lucky you," Nebuly said with
a sigh. "I had a horrible reaction
to antidepressants, and wound up
leaving town in a blind panic."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Keras said.
"Many soups find that drugs work
differently for them, or not at all, or
cause all kinds of odd side effects."

"I didn't know that," Nebuly said.
"I thought it was just because of --"
He broke off, not ready to talk about
the mad science and medical torture.
"-- stuff that happened to me before."

"It sounds like you've had a hard time,"
Keras said. "That must be challenging."

"More than you know," Nebuly whispered.

"Well, we could -- oh dear," Keras said.
"Marmalade, come away from there.
You're getting all tangled up."

The cat, bored with their chat,
had wandered into a tuft of brush,
weaving the long blue leash in and
about and around the thin branches.

As Keras fumbled to untangle it,
Nebuly realized that his hands
were shaped strangely, with
two big stubby fingers and
then a smaller thumb.

"Would you, um, like a hand
with that?" Nebuly asked.

"Yes, please," Keras said.
"I have two of my own, but they're
a bit limited in fine manipulation.
I'd rather not tear up the plants."

Nebuly set aside his branches,
then crouched down and so he
could carefully extract the cat.

"Here, hold Marmalade," he said,
passing him to Keras. Then Nebuly
worked on freeing the rest of
the leash from the brush.

"Thank you," Keras said as
Nebuly retrieved the roasting sticks.
"What are those for, if I may ask?"

"Making biscuits with a campfire,"
said Nebuly. "I should get back there.
Supper is probably ready by now."

Also the sun was setting,
the forest full of orange light
and long purple shadows.

Nebuly hesitated, then added,
"Do you want to come with me?
Marjoram always makes extra food,
in case someone else shows up hungry."

"We'd be delighted to join you for supper,"
said Keras. "Please lead the way."

It didn't take long for them
to reach the camp, cutting straight
through the woods instead of
the meandering path that
Nebuly took before.

Amergin and Marjoram were
happy to see them, and Nebuly even
remembered to make introductions
this time. That was something he
often forgot, he was so out of
practice in dealing with people.

They showed no more reaction
to how Keras looked than they had to
Nebuly himself, just invited him to sit down
by the fire and make himself at home.

"The biscuit dough is ready,"
Marjoram said, waving at the bowl.

Quickly Nebuly halved the sticks
and peeled the bark off the ends.
Then he wrapped the dough around
the sticks and propped them over
the edge of the fire to cook.

Meanwhile Marjoram dished out
fragrant bowls of campfire chili.
She even put down a dish for
Marmalade with bits of jerky.

"So what brings you here?"
Amergin asked Keras. "We're
in town for the Midwinter Faire."

"Oh, how nice," said Keras.
"I am too. I got an invitation
to do some presentations on
superpowers, safety, and
emotional first aid tips."

"That's a great idea,"
Marjoram said. "I'm booked
for some talks on herbalism,
like how to make a first aid kit
using natural remedies. Mostly
I'm here to sell herbal goodies."

"I'm a bard," said Amergin.
"I tell stories, and I also play
several musical instruments."

Nebuly sat and listened
to them as he ate, enjoying
the spicy flavor of the warm chili.

He was a capable roustabout,
but the idea of entertaining
people frankly frightened him.

"I hope I can catch some of
your performances," Keras said.
"I'm new here, though, so I'm not
sure how much I'll get around."

"Maybe we can help," said Marjoram.
"We've been coming here for years."

"What kind of resources are there?"
Keras asked. "I'm afraid I didn't get
much information before arriving."

"Most of the amenities for
the Island Resort neighborhood
are clustered in the middle," she said,
"and a majority of the town's are gathered
in Cambridge Commons. The Midwinter Faire
starts on Main Street, then goes down parts
of Woodland Boulevard and Copper Beech Drive."

They chattered on about Bluehill and
its assorted resources, which Nebuly
found interesting think about -- at least
he'd have some idea what to do if
everything fell through again.

When the biscuits were done,
he peeled them carefully off of
the roasting sticks and passed
them around to everyone.

"That sounds like fun to explore,"
Keras said. "Marmalade should get
some good exercise, too -- he is
a therapy cat in training. Exposure
to new experiences will be good for him."

"Check out the People of Jesus
Nondenominational Church and
Interfaith Center," said Marjoram.
"They have fun holiday programs,
and their soup kitchen is open to
everyone, regardless of income."

"Just chip in a bit if you can afford to,"
Amergin suggested. "They don't take
money from the government or from
businesses, they're strictly grassroots,
supported by member donations."

"They serve really good food, too,"
said Marjoram. "Last year I swapped
them one of my pomander recipes for
their Christmas herbal bread wreath."

The sun had set, and dusk
wrapped the woods in shadows.

Nebuly watched Marjoram fishing
the baked apples out of the coals. As
she set each packet aside, he picked
open the hot foil with quick motions.

After all, it wouldn't matter if
he burned his fingers a bit --
they'd just heal anyway.

"Hey, be careful with that,"
Keras warned. "It must be hot.
"Do you have tongs or anything?"

Marjoram took the last packet
out of the fire and handed the tongs
to Nebuly, so then he had to use
them, even though that made
the task take twice as long.

The apples were scrumptious,
though, their flesh cooked down
to tender mush flavored with
brown sugar and cinnamon.

"Thank you for supper, it was
delicious," Keras said afterwards.
"Perhaps I can return the favor
some time, if you like."

Nebuly was startled
to realize that he would like.

"That would be lovely,"
Marjoram said as she began
to gather up the dishes.

Amergin set up the equipment
for dishwashing and went to work.

Nebuly would have pitched in,
but it had been a long day and
he was just ... so ... tired.

"Do you want some company,
or should I get out of your hair?"
Keras said. "I don't like to leave
anyone sitting alone unless
they prefer it that way."

"Company's nice," Nebuly said.
"Just don't expect much conversation
from me. I'm running out of steam."

"That's okay," Keras assured him,
leaning forward. The firelight glinted on
the gold rim of the Medical Assistant pin that
he wore, the red heart a smaller spark within it.
"We can just sit here together if you don't
feel up to talking very much now."

Marmalade chose that moment
to jump onto Nebuly's lap, where he
curled into a furry muff and began to purr.

Nebuly went nearly boneless with pleasure
and gratefully buried his hands in the warm fur.
The night was getting colder, and his coat
wasn't as warm as the myrstag's shag.

"I wish I could deal with people more,"
he said softly, "but it's ... hard on me."

"That's sad," Keras said. "You seemed
to find the forest uplifting, though. People
often find that walking in the woods can
give them more energy or nerve."

"Maybe," said Nebuly. "I'm not
a brave person, though. At all."

The memory rose up, as fresh
and bitter as the day he made it:
running down the hall, desperately
trying every door that held another of
his cohort, unable to open any of them.

In the end, he had abandoned
them rather than stay and let
the guards return him to hell.

But it still burned to remember.

Marmalade's claws pricked his leg
as the cat kneaded him, bringing
his awareness back to the present.

Nebuly wished he could stay here,
but he knew that sooner or later, he'd
fall back into the pit of his memories.

"It is in midwinter that I sometimes
glean from my pines a curious transfusion
of courage," Keras said in a soft voice.

"What's that?" Nebuly asked.
"It sounded like a recital."

"That's 'December' from
'A Sand County Almanac' by
Aldo Leopold," said Keras. "I
have more of it memorized, if
you would like to hear it."

"Yes, please," said Nebuly.
"It sounded so soothing."

"This rabbit's home range
is at least a quarter-mile
in extent ..." Keras began.

Nebuly felt himself relaxing as
the warm words rolled over him.
He dug his fingers a little deeper
into Marmalade's thick fur, and
tried to be only here, only now.

He might not find courage in
the forest, but he perhaps he could
gain some measure of peace.

* * *


Amergin (Alroy Sheach) -- He has pinkish-fair skin, green eyes, and short curly chestnut hair. He uses his faire name pretty much all the time now. His family pronounces their surname as "shuck" although other branches say "sheech" or "sheeck." He speaks Beurla Reagaird, Cornish, English, French, Irish Gaelic, Italian, Manx, Spanish, and Welsh. His heritage is Irish, Scottish, French, and American. His parents work the Renaissance Faire circuit; his mother is a blacksmith and his father is a silversmith. He is the husband of Marjoram. Amergin is homefree and a dedicated rennie with the Caravan Driver skill. He is a bard who plays bodhran, clairseach, guitar (both six and twelve strings), lute, mandolin, recorder, pennywhistle, and shawm. He can play the three strains (Geantraí for merriment, Goltraí for sadness, and Suantraí for sleep) of bardic legend, although currently at ordinary rather than super level. This helps his friend Nebuly to manage his moods.
Qualities: Good (+2) Bard, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Homefree, Good (+2) Kindness, Good (+2) Languages
Poor (-2) Mainstream Culture

Marjoram (Mary Jane Grader) -- She has fair skin with freckles, hazel eyes, and long hair of reddish-gold. She has a sturdy body with small breasts and hips and little waist definition. She uses her faire name most of the time. Her heritage is Irish, British, and American. Her father is a professor of literature and her mother is a bohemian shopkeeper. Marjoram is the wife of Amergin. She works the Renaissance Faire circuit as an herbalist, although she still has a room in her parents' house. She invented the Gypsy Moon Tea for her friend Nebuly to help him sleep. A dedicated rennie, she has the Caravan Driver skill. She loves people and has an impish sense of humor.
Qualities: Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Extrovert, Good (+2) Herbalist, Good (+2) Kindness, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence
Poor (-2) Academics

Nebuly (Darian Cormac) -- He has pale skin and gray eyes. His hair is short and white on the sides of his head, while the top has a row of long black dreadlocks. His body hair is patched and swirled in black, brown, and white. He is tall and strong. He has a stretched lobe tunnel and upper lobe piercing in each ear. He has bridge, both nostril, and septum piercings in his nose. He has a labret, snakebites, and two pairs of corner piercings in his lower lip. Nebuly uses the occasional pain from piercings to break through the numbness of depression and remind him to take good care of himself. His BlackSheep handle is Bagwyn.
Darian grew up in a happy, healthy family until he and his parents were attacked by human traffickers when Darian was 10. His parents fought ferociously to protect him, and managed to kill at least one of the attackers. Due to all the blood spilled, Darian suspects that his parents were also killed, and doesn't really want to find out the truth. He is about 21 now.
Origin: Mad science torture. The supervillain Carl Bernhardt locked Darian in a strange metal chamber and bombarded him with mysterious energies that caused his body to warp. He escaped when he finally manifested Vaporous Form. Now he works as a rennie and occasionally as a hacker.
Uniform: Street clothes. He usually wears black. Sometimes he lightens up with white, gray, or brown. Rarely he wears brighter colors like blue or purple. He also has some medieval garb.
Qualities: Good (+2) Fortitude, Good (+2) Leader, Good (+2) Hacker, Good (+2) Historical Re-enactment, Good (+2) Tall
Poor (-2) Depression
Powers: Good (+2) Cryptid Shifter
In Nebuly's case, the metapower of Cryptid Shifter includes various abilities and variable enhancements to vision. Good (+2) Control Electricity (Signature Stunts: Average EMP, Average Lightning Bolt, Average Neural Disruption), Good (+2) Regeneration, Good (+2) Shapeshifting, Good (+2) Vaporous Form (Signature Stunt: Average Liquid Form), Average (0) Merle, and Average (0) True Sight. His alternate forms include myrstag.
Motivation: To put his life back together.

In heraldry, a line nebuly (or nebulée) is drawn with deep curves meant to resemble clouds. The term comes from the Latin word nebula, "a mist, vapor, or cloud." Here is heraldic shield displaying Barry nebuly of nine azure and argent.

The myrstag form has sharp antlers for defense, a heavy coat which sheds rain, hooved paws for walking on soft ground, and the ability to digest almost anything. The outer guard hairs are coarse and wiry; the middle hairs are silky; and the woolly undercoat is soft. Myr is Swedish for a bog, a moor, or a wetland. The myrstag has a musky scent.

Keras (Dwight Brecken) -- He has fair skin marked with darker tan, hazel eyes, and long straight brown hair. He also has a pair of tiny goat horns on his forehead, goat ears with full parabolic function, a moist nose and partially divided lip, and short wattles. Once the human parts of his facial hair grew in, he learned how to trim his beard so it looks more human and hides the wattles. Although his horns are small now, they will grow backward and then out in slow spirals. Keras also has a brown-and-white goat tail, which requires all his trousers to be custom-tailored so it can stick out, and his penis has a full furry sheath instead of just a foreskin. Fauns are prone to syndactyly; he only has three stubby digits on each hand. His legs and feet are normal, though.
His heritage is primarily Greek, a little Italian, and some American. His sister has distinctive, squiggly hair striped in shades of brown and black but has declined to check whether it comes from goat or human DNA. Keras has three children, all adopted from the special needs list -- one disabled, one survivor of severe abuse, and one superkid. Because he needs some adaptive equipment, and so does one of the kids, it runs down the family budget.
Keras works as a counselor with troubled populations, and his dayjob is a community farm staffed about half-and-half by people with special needs and their caregivers. His specialty is teaching people that it's okay to be different, but it's not okay to be mean. So he often appears as a "show soup" to let people meet someone with superpowers. Graham Finn brings him to the Nebraska State Penitentiary so the inmates can meet someone who's just a regular soup, not involved in cape politics. Keras came to the attention of Kraken as a teenager but chose not to join. He does occasionally alert them to troubled youth who seem like a good fit.
Keras enjoys historic recreation, and attends SCA events as a faun. He is a particularly agile dancer and much liked by the pipers and other musicians -- he teams up with whoever seems like a good match for stage performances or just for fun.
Origin: Complicated! His maternal grandparents raise colored angora goats for the handspinning market. Keras' goat features match those of an angora goat. The running hypothesis is that his mother somehow incorporated snippets of goat DNA into her own, hidden in her but available to pass along to her children. Keras has Super-Immunity from the Aegis vaccine base, but didn't realize it until his Goat Features manifested in his middle teens and his parents took him to a reader.
Uniform: Keras likes casual, comfortable men's wear. A challenge is that all of his bottoms and hats need to be modified for his unusual body. His SCA persona is a faun; he goes topless and wears goatskin chaps, allowing his natural tail to show. In front he wears a priapic codpiece styled according to period fashion.
Qualities: Master (+6) Adaptable, Master (+6) Father, Expert (+4) Counselor, Expert (+4) SCAdian, Good (+2) Dancer, Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Sense of Humor
Poor (-2) Adaptive Equipment Is Expensive
Powers: Good (+2) Goat Features, Good (+2) Super-Immunity
Keras has the horns, parabolic ears, penis, and tail of a goat. The horns (and the reinforced skull underneath) give him an advantage in headbutting attacks, or resisting concussions. He has Agility, Iron Stomach, Sex Appeal, Super-Hearing, and Super-Smell at Good level. However, he dislikes anything moldy (like blue cheese) and won't eat mushrooms either. He has a strong body odor, which some people (mostly heterosexual women and gay men, plus a few who like soups) find very appealing and some others (mostly lesbians and straight men) dislike.
Motivation: To show people that it's okay to be different, but it's not okay to be mean.

Marmalade -- He is a neutered male cat in training as an animal therapist. He lives at a community farm, staffed about half-and-half by people with special needs and their caregivers. He's still intimidated by animals much larger than himself, but is friendly with anything close to his own size. He makes a fantastic legwarmer, and his loud penetrating purr soothes bone problems.
Qualities: Expert (+2) Cat, Good (+2) Legwarmer, Good (+2) Purr
Poor (-2) Daunted by Larger Animals

See Marmalade with the van that Keras uses for road trips, and at the Midwinter Faire.

* * *

"It is in midwinter that I sometimes glean from my pines... a curious transfusion of courage."
-- Aldo Leopold

'December' from Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac
"This rabbit's home range is at least a quarter-mile in extent." [...]
"Each species of pine has its own constitution, which prescribes a term of office for needles appropriate to its way of life. Thus the white pine retains its needles for a year and a half; thered and jackpines for two years and a half. It is this accumulated wisdom that hushes the footsteps of whoever walks under pines. It is in midwinter that I sometimes glean from my pines something more important than woodlot politics, and the news of the wind and weather. Nevertheless, my pines, each with hisburden of snow, are standing ramrodstraight, rank upon rank, and in the dusk beyond I sense the presence of hundreds more. At such times I feel a curious transfusion of courage.

This type of writing, by the way, is called "creative nonfiction." It is a mainstay of nature writing.

See the exterior and interior of Amergin's vardo. Amergin and Marjoram share the bed behind the curtain. They have given Nebuly the futon, plus the space beneath it for storage.

The Island Resort neighborhood has a variety of campsites. Some are for recreational vehicles by the lake or in the woods, some for tents, others for both. Some have full amenities including a concrete parking pad, picnic table, firepit or barbecue grill, garbage pickup, sewage and water hookup, internet and televison connections, etc. Most have a smaller subset of those, and some are primitive campsites with nothing.

Here are some of the red maple coppices.

Living on the road has its ups and downs. Here are some serious thoughts about how to make it work.

Traveling people come in many types. Some cultures discriminate against them by refusing to provide pitch sites, penalizing them for not having houses, and trying to force them into a conventional lifestyle. Local-American society doesn't always recognize the difference between homefree and homeless. Terramagne-America does better by offering more access to camping areas. Adding to the confusion is the fact that some people choose to be homefree, but may slide into homeless status later. In this case, Amergin is homefree; Nebuly has been homeless and is striving to adapt to being homefree. There are many ways to help the homeless.

Worth mentioning is that the variety is much wider in T-American faires than it is in L-American faires, although the latter have diversified more in recent years. What we have here are mostly generic English Renaissance faires, with some medieval, some French or Highland events, and a few pirate or fantasy ones. T-America has Renaissance faires of many countries -- which means they spread over that whole time period, because the Renaissance arrived at different times in different places. Pirate faires are enormously popular, and fantasy ones are well known. Ethnic faires often network with Sankofa Clubs, such as the occasional African or Egyptian event. Among the events:
Lyonesse Faire in River City, MO (late autumn)
somewhat inspired by the St. Louis Renaissance Faire (Wentzville, MO, September 16-October 15, 2017)
(This used to be a spring faire.)
Midwinter Faire in Bluehill, MO (early winter)

Learn how to fix a flat tire. This skill is essential for serious travelers.

necht -- clear
-- In Lebor Ogaim

Leveling a camper is crucial for those with refrigeration and/or plumbing, but valuable for all. Leveling and stabilizing are easier with the proper tools, but you can use all kinds of improvised stuff. We used a bubble level and boards. Follow the steps to level a camper.

Campfire cooking is another valuable skill on the road. It helps immensely to have the right equipment, but you can make a surprising amount yourself, such as the roasting sticks shown here. Try out some techniques and recipes.

Quick and Easy Chili can be perked by adding jerky.

Biscuits on a Stick may be made with canned dough or campfire biscuit mix. Marjoram prefers shelf-stable ingredients due to the difficulty of transporting and cooking with perishables on the road. Many homemade kitchen mixes are nonperishable and convenient for camping.

Cooking for Engineers presents a superior recipe for Baked Cinnamon Apples. Because the apple is sliced prior to baking, it doesn't leave you wrestling to cut a boiling piece of fruit before you can eat it. I tried this once and have never baked a whole apple since. Also you can use any of your favorite baked apple fillings in it.

Missouri has many native trees which make excellent roasting sticks. Other food-safe woods also work. Learn how to make roasting sticks and what you can cook with them.

Pocketknives come in various types. They are considered a basic tool in T-America, and most adults carry one. Remember that a pocketknife is optimized as a tool, which makes it a poor weapon. Folding knives are not the best choice for combat, but if you must, at least get one designed for that purpose. Understand how to choose the right pocketknife for your needs.

Marjoram's pocketknife is an antique Italian blade.

Nebuly has a simple modern knife; see it closed and open. Look at the different types of blades, and you can see that he's got one for fine detail (the clip with its narrow point) and one for heavier work (the spey with its blunt end).

Coppicing is an efficient way to produce lots of wood for crafts or firewood. Red maple is an excellent choice for this technique, and ubiquitous throughout much of Missouri. Campgrounds customarily need plenty of wood; in the Island Resort neighborhood, Eli Banyan manages the resources, and this method means people can harvest roasting sticks without causing problems. Learn how to coppice trees.

Cats on a leash enjoy more opportunities to explore than housebound cats. The most effective type of leash I found is a figure-8 model, which was marketed as a ferret leash when I first discovered it, and is now more often advertised for rabbits. Because the leash and harness are the same cord fastened by a single buckle, it can adjust to hold any small wriggly creature. Leash training a cat takes time but can be rewarding.

In L-America, therapy cats are generally employed as emotional support rather than assistance animals trained to perform specific tasks. In T-America, they have a wider range. Some are just cuddly. Many will cuddle in addition to doing one or two particular tasks. Sedentary cats who excel at purring may be deployed to help heal broken bones and other injuries. In fact there's a rescue organization in T-America called Purr Little Things that trains its cats as therapy animals and also makes videos of purring cats. This is so popular, sometimes they break even from donations. Marmalade is training as a therapy cat, so going on adventures helps him feel that unusual places and people are a fun part of life.

When I searched this topic, I was intrigued to find that Christians had the best resources on safe people and becoming a safe person. Just ignore all the religious stuff if it doesn't apply to you. For survivors of abuse, there are pages on safe vs. unsafe people and how to find safe people. Keras has training in trauma-informed care which also helps.

Enjoy a recipe for the Christmas Herbal Bread Wreath.

Emotional First Aid minimizes the lasting harm from traumatic events by treating it immediately. Basic EFA is taught in schools and community classes, with more advanced versions covering things like bereavement, sexual assault survivor assistance, etc. An Emotional First Aide is roughly equivalent to an Emergency Medical Technician and they are often deployed in an ambulance, firetruck, or other first response vehicle. Many instutitions such as schools or malls also keep someone trained in EFA along with a nurse at the first aid station. A common EFA emblem is a red heart flanked by two serpents, the left silver and the right gold, each with one white wing extending outward. Their tails twine at the bottom point of the heart and their noses nearly touch at the top curve. Others include a red heart with a white cross, or the addition of a red heart to other medical insignia to mark cross-training in EFA.

Survivor guilt is a devasting emotion that can follow a traumatic experience where someone lived but others died. Survivors may feel plagued by questions and struggle to find meaning after the events. The moral logic of survivor guilt, or moral injury, cause particular anguish to survivors who hurt someone else or feel that they did. Nebuly feels like a bad person because he could only free himself, and abandoned the other victims. It is important to understand what does and doesn't help in coping with survivor guilt. While I could not find anything on how to support a friend who suffers from survivor guilt, these tips for supporting survivors of suicide loss seem like a reasonable approximation.

Child abuse and neglect tend to cause emotional trauma. The effects can include guilt, shame, and self-hate. This can pose particular complications for male survivors. Nebuly suffers a lot of this, which contributes to his depression. An essential step in healing involves placing the blame where it belongs, on the perpetrator. Cultivating self-compassion can also help to heal the shame, overcome the guilt, and relieve the self-hate of childhood trauma. Friends and family can help this process.

Marjoram has an herbal medicine chest. See closeups of the top tray and bottom tray. Notice that it's a lot bigger than a simple first aid kit; this is the equivalent of a full-size household pharmacy. Explore what to put in an herbal medicine chest.

Depression can be a mental illness (arising from within) or a mental injury (caused by an outside force). Child abuse and neglect cause changes in the brain which increase the risk of mental issues in general. Torture is prone to cause PTSD, exhaustion, impairment, and depression. While some people find antidepressants helpful, they don't work for everyone and are notorious for horrible side effects. This iffy pattern among ordinary people is even worse among soups due to the wider variation in body/mind features. There are many different ways to overcome depression and to support someone through it. Depression is also notorious for causing fatigue. These are some ways that depressed people have found to push through the exhaustion.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-11 05:03 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
This is my favorite new poem so far this month. Go Nebuly! And I recognized Marmalade's inspiration, but he is a perfectly cromulant cat of his own stripe, too.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-12 07:53 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
I find that I _desperately_ want to find out how Marmalade & Loiosh would get along, at least once they got past Loiosh's insistence on occasionally being a dog...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-13 02:08 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline


Date: 2017-04-11 02:20 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
...are those pictures of Loish? EEE! LOISH HAS A T-AMERICA COUSIN!

Re: O_O

Date: 2017-04-12 04:14 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
It is the boy! I think of Marmalade as sort of what Loiosh would be like if Loiosh were, in fact, actually a cat.

Re: O_O

Date: 2017-04-12 07:54 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
also i am madly curious to know who you are because obviously i know who you are but i do not know who you are?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-11 03:17 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Marmalade is a good cat.

Yay, Nebuly! It's good to see him get out and have some pleasant experiences.

I'm interested in Keras, too. (Unsurprising. Hello faun. And I'd swear I've seen classical illustrations of someone with a very similar cluster of traits to his, too...)

>>Graham Finn brings him to the Nebraska State Penitentiary so the inmates can meet someone who's just a regular soup, not involved in cape politics.


I'm seriously enjoying this set of links.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-12 07:51 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
This pleases me so very much. I am amused & fascinated by the differences between Marmalade & my Loiosh ... & especially fascinated by the things they have in common.

I am so glad for Nebuly, he is doing SO very well, though I wanted to cry when he was picking apart the foil by hand because it doesn't matter if he's in pain. :/

I am, to nobody's surprise, desirous of Marjoram's medicine chest. I have most of the things that'd go in it but that's the perfect container.

I think I will be prompting more Nebuly & also Keras & Marmalade. Currently I'm wondering how Nebuly would deal with sudden!kitten...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-12 07:52 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
Also if you wind up writing anything set _in_ Keras's van, I have interior shots & could scribble up a floorplan pretty easily.

Re: Yes, please!

Date: 2017-04-12 11:17 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
You want I should link em here, or send em private?

Re: Yes, please!

Date: 2017-04-12 11:29 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
Here is a boy saying LET'S GO:

lets go

A pretty good view of the current van layout:

getting there

The layout itself, somewhat smallified so's not to break the comments:

van layout ish

(If you can't get the full version by following the link, holler & I'll get it to you somehow.)

Some decorative elements:

2015-02-15 15.47.28

It is VERY EASY for such a small place to become a total pit:

2015-05-20 19.02.36

But the boy is always at home in his van:


Re: Yes, please!

Date: 2017-04-13 02:11 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
You have EXCELLENT van!!! Major kudos!

Re: Yes, please!

Date: 2017-04-13 03:14 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
It is my Other House. I've spent upwards of three weeks at a time living in it, so far. It's my go bag with wheels. I can't fit everything I own into it, but I can get the stuff I can't live without in, & plenty of other things that are dear to me. When people give me shit about the amount of gas it eats up, I ask them what gas mileage their house gets.

I have the best van.

Re: Yes, please!

Date: 2017-04-13 07:20 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
>> When people give me shit about the amount of gas it eats up, I ask them what gas mileage their house gets. <<


Re: Yes, please!

Date: 2017-04-13 03:50 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
Yaay! You're quite welcome.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-04-12 10:44 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
> >> though I wanted to cry when he was picking apart the foil by hand because it doesn't matter if
> he's in pain. :/ <<
> Yeah, after years of torture his pain scale is just bent to hell. Nebuly needs people around him
> who will prompt him to do things that mean less pain, because he just doesn't think of it.

Although my roommate pointed out that he might also be doing it to help him focus; self-harm still isn't really great, but it's a slightly different focus than 'it just doesn't matter'.

> There's a horrible tendency -- sometimes explicitly stated -- in mainstream comics that it doesn't
> matter if a fast healer gets hurt, because they'll recover immediately. WT actual F! I came across
> that, said very blatantly, in Arrow and was just appalled.

Like there is still ... pain? & pain is kind of Not Good For You? I mean I can see a situation where a fast healer with good control could turn off the pain nerves & do a thing that had To Be Done, then heal it up quick, but even that is a thing that's gonna cause some brainstuff, ugh.

> So when I write superheroes, I note that characters who have been severely abused and/or have a
> power that heals them quickly or protects them from harm may have an impaired sense of
> self-preservation as a result. Taking advantage of this is abusive. Decent people will say, "Use
> the tongs" or "Don't pick up the knife by the blade, it's a bad habit because someday you might
> try that with a super-gizmo and really get hurt."


> >> Currently I'm wondering how Nebuly would deal with sudden!kitten... <<
> I suspect either very well, or very badly, depending on his mood at the time and whether it hit
> any of his past triggers. If you have a preference, specify.

I shall consider.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-04-21 06:52 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
I liked one set of lines early on in the first X-Men movie...
Rogue: "Does it hurt?"
Wolverine: "Every damn time."

Logan is messed up in some of the same ways that Nebuly is, I think.

I like this, but I don't seem to have much to say about it.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-05-15 08:15 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
>>So when I write superheroes, I note that characters who have been severely abused and/or have a power that heals them quickly or protects them from harm may have an impaired sense of self-preservation as a result. Taking advantage of this is abusive. Decent people will say, "Use the tongs" or "Don't pick up the knife by the blade, it's a bad habit because someday you might try that with a super-gizmo and really get hurt."<<

This is actually an important plot point in Hal Clement's Needle. It involves a pair of alien symbiotes who have taken up residence inside human bodies. One is a criminal, the other the cop who was chasing him.

They can provide healing and other support for their hosts...

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-05-15 08:31 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
It's one of his *early* books. It was published in 1950 after appearing in Astounding in 1949.

It and Bester's The Demolished Man were answers to the challenge that it was impossible to write an SF detective novel.

It's set in the late 40s and has a few interesting side bits. Like the folks on the island are breeding bacteria to convert biomass to gasoline/kerosene/diesel.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-03-01 02:44 pm (UTC)
pantha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pantha
Eeee. It is so exciting to watch Nebuly come nearer and nearer. I greatly anticipate when he and Turq (hopefully) are finally reunited. Yeah, it's going to be super-tough but worth it, I think...


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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