ysabetwordsmith: (paladins)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the May 19, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] kelkyag, [personal profile] mama_kestrel, and [livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug. It also fills the "under pressure" square in my 5-18-15 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] daisiesrockalot. It belongs to the series Path of the Paladins.

"Something You Feel"

The drummer boy turned out to be
not entirely inept at strategy,
which surprised Gorrein at first,
but thinking further it made sense
that he would attract followers with
that sort of knack, regardless of age.

They played quarterboard,
three quarters to one, and
even though Gorrein always won,
it took him longer now than it had
when they first started playing.

It made him feel a little less lonely,
a little more in control of a world
that kept wanting to tilt wildly off-center.

"There is just so much more pressure
on me now than there used to be,"
Gorrein complained. "It's harder
to keep my balance. I don't
know how to do it."

"Well yeah," said the drummer,
moving a piece toward the center.
"Balance is tricky, especially with
people pulling on you all the time,
and it's not something you do,
it's something you feel."

"I don't feel it," Gorrein said,
after the drummer's third move
made it his turn again. "I just
go through the motions."

"If you can't feel it, you're humped,"
said the drummer.

"I know, I know," Gorrein said.

Just then a low boom echoed
through the heavens.

"What was that?" the drummer yelped.
"I never felt anything like that before!"

Gorrein had. The memory
made him duck his head
between his shoulders like
a turtle seeking its shell.



"My parents," he said lamely
to the shocked drummer.
Then he slunk to the Great Hall.

thundered Padal the Father God.

shouted Mahar the Mother Goddess.

"I didn't touch the weather!"
Gorrein protested "I don't
even know why it's like that."

his mother directed.

his father demanded.

Then the others joined the chorus.

It was just like it had always been,
everyone blaming Gorrein for things
he had nothing to do with, and nobody
ever appreciating the things he got right,
and constant pressure to obey conflicting orders
that would have been hard to handle even one at a time.

Gorrein sighed, and did the best he could.

Days later, when his parents finally wound down,
he managed to escape back to his sanctuary.

"My Lord!" the drummer exclaimed.
"What happened to you? You look awful."

"Did you ever have one of those parties,"
Gorrein said slowly, "where your parents
came home to find that you had somehow
managed to run the wagon into the parlor,
let all the livestock out of the barn, and
eaten the entire sack of sugar in the pantry?
With your friends still passed out in the yard,
that you haven't had time to clean up after?"

"No," said the drummer boy.

"Oh," said Gorrein. "Well,
this is like that anyway."

"They're really mad, huh?"
the drummer asked.

"Furious," Gorrein said.
"They think I'm a complete failure."

"Failure is something you feel,
and something you do,
not something you are,"
said the drummer.

"Sure. Tell that to them,"
Gorrein mumbled into his hands.

The drummer turned to go.

"No no no, wait, don't do that!"
Gorrein said, dragging him back.
"The mood they're in, they would
reduce your soul to a grease splat
on the floor of the Great Hall."

Gorrein didn't want to lose the only person
who would still play quarterboard with him.

"Then I'll find some other way to help,"
said the drummer. "It's not right
for them to pick on you like this."

"What could you possibly do about it?"
Gorrein grumbled, glaring at him.

"I dunno," said the drummer.
"Sneak you some of my cookies
if they send you to bed without supper?"

This. This was what he was reduced to.
Gorrein didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

So instead, he set up the quarterboard for another round.

* * *


"Pressure is something you feel when you don't know what the hell you're doing."
-- Peyton Manning

Maladaptive parenting happens when people are inept rather than purposely abusive. There are ways to improve parenting skills and overcome poor parenting from your childhood.

Scapegoating appears in many dysfunctional or questionably functional families. Know how to heal from scapegoating.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-02 12:01 am (UTC)
chanter_greenie: Commander Seth Goddard of Space Cases fame (SC: Goddard - do the best they can)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
... And yet, I find I cannot feel very sorry at all for Gorrein the rapist, who didn't so much as scapegoat his sister and her followers, and quite a few unattached innocents, as throw them all to not just the wolves, but often *his* wolves. I'm reminded of a particular zealot with a cursed rope, here, and his demonstrated certainty that his master liked to watch... Gorrein's actions go far beyond a child throwing a wild party and getting busted by his parents.

The 'a small child, or else the god of war' argument might work with a proto-Q, but with Gorrein? It doesn't stretch nearly far enough. Granted I've been reading the godly players in this setting as adults. Not doing so, given the rest of this series... I feel shortchanges not only Gayla, but Gorrein himself. Young and possibly unwise gods they may be, but children? I have a hard time shrinking this world's arguments down to a family dispute and a case of scapegoated child and inept parents, and Mr. Freud, get the @#*! out of here.

This world deserves complicated, adult answers and adult justice, or reasonable equivalents thereof if the newer generation of gods truly are comparatively young, for its complicated, adult crimes.

<3 <3 <3 Ysabet, by the way.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-10-02 01:16 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
At the same time... when you've royally screwed up (perhaps literally) and you're parents are pissed as hell and and and and, WHO DOESN'T retreat into something like quarterboard (or Free Cell or a favourite novel)? I'm half a bloody century old and I still have that response, to this very second.

Peyton is bragging, or bullshitting, or both. You can know *exactly* what you're doing, and when the fate of the team/company/world is riding on your shoulders? You're *gonna* fuckin' sweat it. *How much* you sweat it depends on how well you know yourself and your teammates and how well you *actually* know what you're up against. It may not even *register* as pressure while you're in the moment. You're just sorta there, doing your thing, very Zen-like... and the ball floats towards the enemy receiver and you LEAP and with one outsized garish green-and-blue glove literally snatch victory from the jaws of defeat: NOPE!

Richard Sherman intercepts Kaepernick's pass intended for Crabtree

That sigh of relief, that roar of exultation? That's *pressure*, escaping. And after all that? Beating the snot out of the Broncos is EASY.

There's a lyric for what Peyton said that comes to mind from an aptly named song:

♫ Now here you are with your faith
And your Peter Pan advice
You have no scars on your face
And you cannot handle PRESSURE ♪
-- Billy Joel

Seahawks 43, Broncos 8. Peyton: NOPE.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-10-02 04:33 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
much better coping skill than his previous choice of sacking cities.

Touche'. That's not a coping skill, that's a tantrum ... and my pinky automatically put a "p" on the end of "tantrum"... writ large... which would be what the Poo Flinger In Chief NAY, he's not merely sacking cities, he's - by deliberate inaction - committing genocide on an entire ISLAND.

Heads. Pikes.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-10-02 06:09 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Puerto Rico. I dunno. I think the old wypipo that make the decisions on the Hill could give a shit about keeping his wick dry. But a lot of them wore uniforms during the Cold War... and one thing they're not gonna stand for much is for home potato to be convincingly caught with his itty bitty paws in Unca Vlad's cookie jar... I think what's holding them back right now is (a) they're worried who *else* might get caught and (b) they thought, at least, that they had a legislative blank cheque to commit whatever they want... so far that cheque has bounced at least twice, in spectacular fashion. Tsk.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-10-02 11:58 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
Young and unwise being a fair fit for godly mindsets I can... sort of see, although the scope of Gorrein's crimes, and the intent behind at least some of them (again, that vile cock on legs and his cursed rope) still IMO lean further toward unwise, or just plain evil, than young, however ages are measured. I'm not usually one to subscribe to the 'he's just a bad one' view of beings, but this seems worse than a case of inept parenting is likely to cause, scapegoat child or not. If it were up to me, Gorrein would get at least a temporary boot right out of the pantheon... and here I'm strongly reminded of Dukat and attempted lessons in humility that went faaaaar awry.

I have to say, the abrupt shift from this world's rustic grittiness and complicated nature, and I include the interactions in the heavenly spheres up to now in that nature, to a very... Odin's A+ parenting and Loki sort of situation, yanked me right out of the story. Sorry, Ysabet. I mean, Gailah is giving Ari visions of being forced over her own altar, people are losing and finding faith in life-changing ways, and here's Gorrein being chastised like a boy?

And I have to disagree with whoever said Gorrein's apologizing to Gailah (pardon my misspelling of earlier, I was working from memory) would be the least difficult part of reparations. It might be, if Gorrein's playing (or put in?) the role of a child who's hurt another child. That way lies very little of substance for either the violator or the violated. Ditto if Gorrein apologizes out of obligation, but means none of it. I know you can't force remorse without employing further violation, so that's off the table indefinitely. For Gorrein to realize the gravity of what he's done, on his own and by authority, body-mind-spirit-sphere, to his sister and her people and, again, uncounted other innocents, and make restitution for it... No, that won't be at all the least difficult part of his road back. At least, I sincerely hope it isn't.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-10-03 12:54 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
*reads your reply* This... is going to be interesting. In a good (for us readers, if not always for the characters) and intense way, by the sound of it.

<3 you, and your awareness of the complicated issues in play here. I know I've said that, but I'm saying it again. No worries about the getting pulled out of the story thing; it happens. I was so very *not* attempting to pee all over the author, even if I hit a snag with a particular poem. You know this... but again, reiterating.

Here's a thought. Gorrein's current sphere is as god of evil, or god of war, or both due to significant overlap? If the two domains were to if not entirely split, then at least partially separate, because there *are* good reasons to go to war...

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-10-03 02:46 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] chanter_greenie
I may end up prompting for Gorrein getting a title change, or at least for discussion of same among deities. Whether Gorrein's included or not in those discussions... Part of me wants to see conversations between others while the subject of discussion isn't there to try and squirm out of responsibility for what is known he had a fairly direct hand in, but part of me would almost like to see him reacting to the idea being brought up. Dare I say, I can see him embracing it? Whether he realizes the switch may well shrink his following... I wonder. And then, who takes over war/justice/dispute with purpose? Someone new? /Barzay/? His people already seem to have a tendency toward fierce but fair justice... Could justice be a shared sphere, even?


Date: 2017-10-02 01:11 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Sure, I guess let's START with an apology to your sister whose body and temple and sphere of influence you violated and then move on to teaching you how to go about cleaning up some of the damages....and perhaps also attention to getting you some better coping and communications skills under your belt and maybe after that help you figure out what responsibility and consequences have in common... this is an awfully large mess and a complicated problem with an equally complicated solution which may not be able to be executed quickly either....*sigh*


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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