I think we sometimes forget that since Terezi didn’t really have a lusus to teach her morality or empathy, she was raised almost entirely through Imperial propoganda. So how does a kid whose only basis for understanding the world comes from casteist schoolfeeding modules become someone with such a passionate sense of justice that she’s willing to destroy her relationship with her sister over a couple lowblood kids?
The answer to that question probably lies in the Neophyte Redglare. I think that someone as curious and questioning as Terezi Pyrope would have wanted to learn everything there was to know about Redglare as soon as Vriska suggested she roleplay as her. So young Terezi starts reading every publicly available historical text mentioning her ancestor. She learns about Redglare’s history of service to the Cruellest Bar, her work on the consolidation of religious law, her untimely demise. She reads everything there is to read, and when she finishes those she starts badgering Sollux to get her access to the censored, illicit texts about Redglare, because what kind of fledgling legislacerator ignores clues as juicy as an obviously censored abhistorrian’s works?
And that’s when the stories she’s reading start to change. Instead of endless praise about how the Neophyte tirelessly pursued criminals and stopped at nothing to enforce the law, she’s hearing about how Redglare was advocating for reforms in the justice system, about how she was nearly culled when she confronted the Grand Highblood about the Imperial policy of refusing to punish highblood commanders who deliberately slaughtered their lowblood troops. And more than a few of the forbidden texts mention that before she was mysteriously deployed to track down a powerful pirate queen, there were unsavory rumors circling about her allegiance to a certain cult.
And of course Terezi then goes back to Sollux and asks him to find her everything about the symbol of the the glowing handcuffs, and he begrudgingly supplies her with several centuries of censored writings about the Sufferer. Terezi devours them, trying to understand why her brilliant, successful ancestor was willing to give up her life and her career for the the delusions of this bizarre, heretical, long-dead martyr, trying to understand how her idol could be taken in by this idealistic bullshit about better worlds and inherent dignity of trollkind, and she doesn’t want to believe something so obviously untrue, but if Redglare cared about it enough to die for it, well. There has to be something to these insane ramblings.
So she figures it’s best to go straight to the source, and she has Sollux get her the Disciple’s orginal text, and after she’s picked apart every single one of the Signless’s sermons, she starts to ask herself the same questions that followers of the Signless have asked for centuries. Why was it that some trolls were considered autnomous beings under the law and some weren’t? Why was it that the Alternian legal code claimed to represent the impartiality of the law, but lowbloods were overwhelmingly prosecuted for crimes that highbloods got away with on a daily basis? She delves further into her schoolfeeding modules on study of the law, but she’s doing it critically this time, and when she finds something that seems wrong to her, she thinks about the purpose it serves, and she dreams of newer and better laws.
She doesn’t wear the sign of the handcuffs, because in her day and age that’s a death sentence and anyway, she’s not a follower of the cult of the Signless- try as she might, she can’t bring herself to have that kind of idealistic faith in trollkind. She’s not a follower of the Neophyte either- she’s critical of the slow pace of Redglare’s work, of the many instances where she obediently committed atrocities so that she’d have enough credit and power to work towards her gradual reformist goals. She tests out her ideas in FLARP matches, and by the time things really get out of control and Vriska kills Aradia, she she’s solidifying her own moral code. She knows the difference between law and justice, knows that a single event can be both a completely legal culling and a sickeningly unjust murder. Vriska is her friend, her partner, her sister, but she’s a murderer too, and after everything Terezi’s read and everything she’s promised, the choice is clear. She doesn’t kill Vriska, but she kills their relationship, and as her eyes heal and she learns to smell the text off the page, she throws herself back into her legal studies. When it came right down to a choice between Vriska and justice, the obvious answer was to choose justice, and no matter how much she misses her sister, Terezi vows then and there that she’ll choose justice every time.
MSPaint confronts you with a character
selection screen. You know from bitter experience that you will only
be able to access the first option, but you are drawn by a strange
compulsion to click on the option featuring your favorite character.
The link is active. The page loads. The humming noise at the edge of
your hearing reaches a fever pitch.You begin to shiver. You should not
have disrespected the powers that be.
In class, you try to draw art for a
different fandom in the margins of your notebook, but the characters
all come out with orange horns. You erase them furiously, cold sweat
beading on your forehead, but the moment you look back the horns are
back, bigger and more orange than last time, dominating the page. You
try to go back to taking notes, but your letters are all bracketed
and capped with little horns. Your teacher is explaining leprechaun
reproduction. You can never go back.
Everyone is talking about the upd8. You
go to mspaint to try and read it for yourself, but the only page you
can see is How to Draw Manga. How to Draw Manga has been the only
page you’ve been able to see for months. On your dash, the discussion
intensifies. You check your watch. It’s 6.59 pm. It has
never not been 6.59 pm.
You identify strongly with your
favorite character. They type something clever in a chatlog and you
find yourself smiling. They say something self-deprecating and it’s
like you’re being plunged back into the most self-hating time of your
life. They die, and you feel something cold trickling down your skin.
You touch your flesh and your hand comes away sticky. Your blood is
no longer red. You are very afraid.
Your favorite big bloggers are outraged
that the fandom is treating one of the characters with such
disrespect. You do not remember this character being treated with
disrespect. You do not remember the upd8 that prompted this
discussion of this character. You do not remember this character
Months ago, you were sure you set your
icon to a picture of your favorite homosuck sprite. When you woke up
this morning, your icon was an image of the same character but drawn
by ikimaru and wearing a flower crown. The flowers are swaying slightly. When you look too close you think you see an endless field
expanding out behind them with a shadowy figure lurking just beyond
the edges of the tiny icon square. You blink and turn away.
During the final stages of Openbound,
you press the up key. You keep pressing the up key. The lily pads
give way to water, and you keep going up. Your hand is getting sore
and heavy now, but you don’t dare let go. Your progress is painfully
slow. And then, emerging slowly from the top edge of your screen, you
see Aranea’s booth. She beckons to you. She has always been there.
You see a post asking you how you
pronounce Aradia’s name. You are supposed to write out your
pronunciation in the tags. As you move to reblog it you realize that
you do not know how to pronounce their name.You hover your fingers
over your keyboard and try to say it aloud: Aradia. There is only
silence. You try again.Where did everyone around you go? You try to
scream and the sound won’t come out. Your fingers are moving across
the keyboard. #uh-RAY-dee-uh, they say. You click reblog.
I think Tavros must had a whole head of floppy, John Egbert-style
hair for a lot of his life. Then, when he was five, he started
getting more nervous about Ascension and reached the regrettable
conclusion that he had to be more of a badass if he wanted to survive
past ten. Thus, the edgy haircut and the cool septum piercing and the
dangerous FLARP account. Aradia tried to assure him that his hair was
fine the way it was, but he was very insistent that it would be an
important step towards him learning to see himself as a confident
person, so she eventually relented and agreed to come over and give
him a haircut. She promptly fucked it up and took off most of the
hair on his left side, because she’d never cut hair before and had
no idea what the hell she was doing, and the resulting mohawk was
born out of her subsequent attempts to even it up while Tavros
anxiously asked what was going on back there.
Part of why Aradia was so woefully unprepared to take on the role
of Tavros’s barber was that she’d never had a haircut in her life,
because her mom was a sheep and thought massive amounts of hair just
meant more protection against cold nights and sharp claws. She’s
never actually brushed her hair either, because her lususes idea of
grooming was making sure there were no sticks and leaves and bugs and
rocks caught in her charge’s wool, and even once she was old enough
to take care of herself Aradia never wanted to waste time dealing
with the huge mass or curls that her hair had become.
Feferi never had a haircut either, but that was because of
tradition, not apathy. The Condesce’s hair was a symbol of her
strength and virility, and if an Imperial Heiress went out in public
with short hair the assumption would be that someone cut it off her
to shame her after she lost a fight against them. Plus, bangs would
only stick to her forehead and get in her eyes she she’s surfacing,
and she likes the way it streams around in the water behind her and
drapes all over her back when she goes on land. And she especially
likes the way her lusus combs it for her, tentacles gently brushing
her neck as they sweep through thick hair and tease out tangles.
Eridan’s first haircut was at Feferi’s hands, and it was an
unfortunate incident all around. At three sweeps, he was complaining
about the way it kept getting in his eyes and shedding all over his
clothes, and next thing he knew his moirail was plomping him down on
the couch and running to get the gold-plated bejeweled scissors,
glubbing all the time about how exciting this was, because she’d
never gotten to do a real haircut on a real person! She snipped
enthusiastically at his neck until a truly shitty bowl cut emerged,
humming the whole time, and Eridan went home and immediately started
looking into hair gel as a way to salvage his appearance and dignity.
These days he cuts his own hair, which is a pain in the ass, but he
doesn’t trust a professional not to slit his throat in the chair,
and to be honest he doesn’t really trust Feferi to be professional.
So yeah au where Aradia freezes time and zips in to pull Alt Calliope out of her black hole, because as a former dead girl and as a Time player she knows exactly what it’s like to sacrifice everything for the propogation of the Alpha timeline. And Alt Calliope isn’t happy about it, because this is what she’s prepared herself for all this time and this is the only end she can see for herself, this ghost who’s never had friends and never had anything but a purpose. She tries to tell Aradia that this is pointless, because she’s supposed to be double-dead, but Aradia won’t let go of her hand and tells her that that’s tough luck, because it seems to her that Alt Calliope is very much still around, and Aradia intends to help her stay that way.
Aradia: *partners with Tavros in FLARP and trusts him with her life* Aradia: *has some kind of ambiguous romantic relationship with Sollux* Aradia: *considers Nepeta the person she most trusts as her server player* Aradia: *somewhat stays in contact with Kanaya and was at least willing to trust Terezi* Aradia: *distrusts and dislikes Vriska and Equius* Aradia: *literally never talks to Gamzee, Eridan, or Feferi*
So if you were going to assign gemsonas to the HS ladies who would get which rock? Terezi is a pyrope obvs and Vriska does have that whole fluorite octet thing going on but I'm not sure who would get what beyond that
Rose is Ametrite, which is a gold and purple crystal that people say is good for stimulating intellectualism and removing negative energy. It literally matches her color scheme perfectly, i stg.
Nepeta is Cat’s Eye (Chrysoberyl), because that’s thematically appropriate. I don’t think there’s any good meaning stuff there, but how can I not have that one for her?
Jade is Jade, because even if Kanaya is, you know, the jade-colored one, that stone also comes in lime green.
For Aradia, Crocoite is a spiky red crystal that is associated with passion and courage, and also very keyed in to spiritual energy.
For Kanaya, Mawsitsit is a variety of jade with green and black bands that represents accepting and working with what life offers you and emotional support.
Jane is Turquoise, which symbolically gives out emotional healing energy and promotes clear thinking and leadership.
Feferi is Kammererite, which is hella expensive, matches her blood color, and has a bunch of meanings associated with healing, independence, and moving past negative emotions.
Roxy is Pink Agate, which is an artificially dyed stone generally but is really fucking bright, really fucking hard, and supposedly gives energy, harmony, and strength.