axe falls

Be cruel to your characters.

Let bad things happen to good people. Let your characters try and fail. And try again. And fail again. Let them be betrayed in the worst possible way. Let them betray others because they have no choice. Force them into situations that make them uncomfortable. Force them to argue or fight or bargain their way out. Drive them to the brink of insanity. Push them over the edge. Take everything away from them. Let them realize what they’ve lost.

Be kind to your characters.

Let faith and perseverance win out. Let love be enough. Let the Sun dry up the rain. Give them friends who will never leave. Let someone save them before the axe falls. Acquit them of false accusations. Give them the strength to stand up again. And again. When they’ve lost hope, give them something to believe in. Remind them there’s good in the world. Remind them there’s good in them, too. Surprise them. Make them laugh until they cry. Teach them that they can’t be broken.

Most importantly: balance.

Even the darkest tragedy has its moments of light; if your reader has no hope that things will get better, if your character doesn’t learn or become stronger for their suffering, the story becomes meaningless pain. Likewise, not only is it unrealistic for a character to go through life never encountering conflict or sadness, it’s boring. Not every conflict has to be life-or-death in order to be meaningful. Give your characters and your plots high points and lows; just make it real for them.

10

LOTR CHAPTERS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING - Chapter Seventeen: The Bridge of Khazad-dûm

The ranks of orcs had opened, and they crowded away, as if they themselves were afraid. Something was coming up behind them. What it was could not be seen: it was like a great shadow, in the middle of which was a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater; and a power and terror seemed to be in it and go before it…The flames roared up to greet it, and wreathed about it; and a black smoke swirled in the air. Its streaming mane kindled, and blazed behind it. In its right hand was a blade like a stabbing tongue of fire; in its left it held a whip of many thongs.
“Ai! Ai!” wailed Legolas. “A Balrog! A Balrog has come!
Gimli stared with wide eyes. “Durin’s Bane!” he cried, and letting his axe fall he covered his face.
“A Balrog,” murmured Gandalf. “Now I understand.” He faltered and leaned heavily on his staff. “What an evil fortune! And I am already weary.”

anonymous asked:

There are weapons that have spiked and nubby/non-spiked varieties, like maces, right? Some maces have sharpened points and some don't. So, what are the benefits of using one over the other?

Your talking about a morningstar, which is actually a weapon type separate from the mace. You can use fantasy author Ciarra Ballantine’s handy chart for distinguishing your bludgeoning weapons if you like, it may help you when it comes to telling the mace, flail, and morningstar apart.

As for why the spikes? All the better to bludgeon you with, my dear.

The primary use for these weapons in combat was against knights and other armored foes (though some priest orders in the Catholic church were famous for carrying them and wielding them against unarmored peasants, this is where the Cleric in DnD comes from). The basic idea is you crack the plate like a tin can, the point of a mace is to just drive force through the armor until it hits the person inside, or crushes them. The spikes add to the benefits you get off the mace. They’re for punching through the armor and into the body.

A sword can’t beat someone through their armor, it’ll damage the edge. You can pierce the armor by holding the blade of the sword in your hands and driving it in, which is the point of the estoc. Or you take the hilt and start beating on their armor with that.

A mace cuts out that middleman, allowing you to hammer someone to death and force your way through their armor. The morningstar adds spikes to that equation. So, if the mace is a hammer then the morningstar is you wanting to put a nail into someone so you’ve soldered the nail onto it to put the nails into them.

If it helps, think about it like going after someone with a baseball bat. Baseball bat is good, nails in the baseball bat is better.

The flail is the same way. You put a spiked ball on a chain and swing it about to hit people with it to bust up their armor, because you get more force from a steel ball spinning on a chain than you generate with your arm.

As for the benefits? It’s really a question of how badly do you want to fuck that other guy up, and how viciously do you want to go about it.

You can go into combat wielding a flail in one hand and a shield in the other against a knight with their sword and gain a significant advantage because it moves in directions that are difficult to counter. It generates enough force to damage both the plate and person inside.

I mean, there are other reasons why someone might choose to carry these weapons but those are some of the big ones. As a function of its design, the morningstar has a greater reach than the mace.

It’s a club, it doesn’t take that much finesse to wield in comparison to a sword and its highly effective at what it is designed to do. The bludgeoning weapons are fairly uncomplicated, though they make a big mess.

From a writing standpoint in your fiction, the maces and morningstars tend to carry some stigma in comparison to swords. They’re in the same family as the club. Basically, they’re treated as thuggish weapons. As opposed to the blade, which is a noble, elegant weapon based in skill and finesse. Its treated as less legitimate. Or, it belongs to the Crusaders and used by religious groups only.

Take these preconceptions into account when using the mace, but don’t hitch your cart to them. A character can be defined by their weapon choice, but don’t put too much stock in the conventional fictional definitions. A character who uses a mace is not necessarily a brute, just as a character who uses a sword is not necessarily a noble warrior or someone wielding a rapier having a rapier wit. Fiction and cultural motifs often have little to do with the reality of what the weapons were actually for, and end up getting it wrong more often than they’re right.

Axes also fall under another category. They’re the weapon of the savage, brutish, primal warrior, but they’re not. They’re just another weapon type. It’s a choice, a combat approach.

The sword is the weapon of kings, a symbol of civilization and nobility. The weapon of the hero. A hero who wields a sword is more noble than one who wields another “lesser” weapon type. It’s not. It’s just another approach to combat, a tool.

Understanding these stereotypes is important because they will follow you and influence you, whether you realize it or not. They’ll also influence your reader. By understanding that they’re there, you can account for them and combat them in your narrative. In ignorance, you’re at their mercy. Countless other storytellers have already laid this groundwork for you, but you do get to decide what you’ll do with it.

-Michi

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4

i was playing animal crossing with @horrifichymns and this happened

,,except it was an axe

So I see some of this “Famous Last Words” stuff going around Tumblr. How bout I give it a go?

Niiiiiiiiice! I get to die in a pretty badass way. Hey, Violet, I wonder what yours’ll be?

*tears up*

VIIIIIIIOOOOLEEEEEET

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO MEEEEEE

YOU ARSE

HOW DARE YOU DIE IN SUCH AN AMBIGUOUS WAY

WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS THIS SUPPOSED TO MEAN

THIS IS SO VAGUE

THAT COULD LITERALLY BE ANY SITUATION

AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

@omegaversethings

5

Burn Notice has a made-for-tv movie about the backstory of Sam Axe, played by Bruce Campbell, star of the cult classic Evil Dead series.

About 50 minutes into this, he picks up a chainsaw, throws it down a cliffside, where it crashes through the window of a car filled with hostile soldiers. At which he says, “Very groovy!”

I’m somewhere between disbelieving laughter and disbelieving screaming, and I love it.

Kylux Rec List #4

Yes, it’s me again with another list.  I have a lot of time on my hands at the moment so how better to spend it than working my way through the 7,000 works in the Kylux tag on AO3?  I have actually read or at least looked at everything >50k words, as well as a good portion of the >25k word fics.  Certain favored tags have been searched extensively.  I only arrived in this fandom in October, so plenty of catching up to do.  

Some of the things on this and my other lists are well-known to those of you who have been here all along; I made more of an effort in this list to include some perhaps slightly less well-known works so hopefully there will something you haven’t seen before whether you just got here or have been reading Kylux since November 2015.

A mix of completed works and WIPs.

What Happens After the Events of TFA?

Controlling Disorder  by @thethirstorder
E - 13,200, updated 1/27/17
After what he perceives as his failure for the loss of SKB, Hux’s delicately balanced self-control collapses into anxiety attacks and the escalation of a self-destructive eating disorder.  The author takes great care to show Hux’s dysfunctional thought process as he reaches a nadir.  Kylo is surprisingly kind (the fic is pre-slash so far).

Metanoia by @symphorophilian
M - 2,600
In the wake of the loss of SKB, the walls of self-containment built up over a lifetime to hide what Hux thinks is a worthless and weak self (“He broke his own mind, his own heart, for the mere belief that they were neither wanted nor needed, something unnecessary in his desperate quest for strength, to be real.”) rupture in a spectacular fashion.  I’ve been in the mood for Hux in extremis fics lately and this hit the spot.

The Beasts We Keep by @sundogsailor
M, E - 24,400
A two-part series where Hux is tricked and captured by the Resistance, and is on the receiving end of ‘enhanced interrogation’ treatment.  He’s rescued by Ren - who’s not 100% keen to be doing that, since he’s under orders to rip through Hux’s mind to see if he gave over any intel, and kill him if so.  Their relationship up to this point has been mostly adversarial, with benefits.  In part two, we see some of the psychological fallout of torture.

Saint by @ofcorsetstrash
M - 15,200
This starts in the medbay on the Finalizer after Hux retrieves Kylo from the surface of SKB (“The General only leaned closer, his breath dancing over Kylo’s lips, teeth. “I despise you.” The way he said it was a promise, a blessing, a hymn, and when their mouths touched Kylo swore he would only ever worship this.”) - and then goes off in a totally unexpected direction.  “It’s a Force thing”, the identity of Snoke, a meditation/debate on the nature of droids/AIs, appearances from PT/OT characters, and finishes up with a surprise appearance by Hux the galactic humanitarian.

The Stars Can Wait for Your Sign, Don’t Signal Now by @aknightfornawt
E - 25,400
The classic Kylux set-up - they have a hatesex relationship of convenience…and then the destruction of SKB happens.  Kylo goes for his training, Hux bides his time, waiting for the axe to fall.  Snoke gives Kylo the choice: complete a mission to collect Finn, and get rid of Rey and Luke - which he’s on the verge of completing at least the first part of…and then, what’s that?  Hux is about to be executed - will you save him?  Kylo makes the wrong choice until he realizes he can’t sustain that.  Really excellent characterization, tight plotting, and evocative writing.

Canonverse - Pre/During/Unspecified Relation to TFA

My Skin is Theirs  by @claricechiarasorcha
E - 10,800
They’re highly sought-after and fetishized collectibles in the First Order - softcore photos of young Cadet Hux.  Ren discovers Mitaka’s collection of these and is not best pleased - such lèse-majesté!  Hux explains why he did it and then demonstrates the interplay of power between being the observer and the observed.  

Sanguinem; Imperium  by rhoen, @deluxekyluxtrashcan
E - 15,700
Nearly 16,000 words of beautifully written porn at the intersection of psychological need and long-denied physical comfort; Hux accepts Ren’s offer to let himself be known.  The power bottom dynamic
is what’s explored here: “The mixture of command and submissiveness is terrifyingly arousing, and Kylo simply nods, at the mercy of whatever Hux wants him to do.” and it should tell you all you need to know that the first thing Hux asks for when given carte blanche is a kiss.

The Spice of Life by Arya_Greenleaf, @avaahren and @noxogoth
E - 14,200, updated 1/21/17
The brazen career trajectory of Major, then Colonel Hux: First Order officer,  part-time smuggler, drug dealer, and bare-knuckle tag team fighter on his corrupt and inexorable way to becoming, presumably, the Hux we know in TFA.  2 chapters in of a projected 4,  Ren is temporarily along for the ride, and for breaking the first rule of drug dealers everywhere - don’t sample your own product.  He’ll just go on one last run with Hux before returning to Snoke to get serious about his training - a run to Jakku.  This is a fic/art collaboration.

Perchance to Dream  by rhoen, @deluxekyluxtrashcan
E, 2,400
As soft and sweet as a somnophilia fic could possibly be.  Hux asks for it and asks for it hard.  Instead, Kylo uses this opportunity as a chance to indulge his secret fantasy of doting on Hux. An interesting exploration of the different ways of approaching vulnerability.  

To the Cold and Nebulous by sarencen, @ad-aphelion 
M, E, M - 5,800
A fic tagged ‘hotmess!Hux’?  Couldn’t pass this up!  A group of three interrelated short fics; their emotional heft far exceeds the relatively small number of words.  This is a study of some of the elements that formed their personalities, some of the reasons why they do what they do and are the way they are, and how this manifests in a horribly dysfunctional and destructive relationship.  Classic Kylux material - presented in a meditative, somewhat poetic style.

(Virgins)
Two ‘first time’ prompt fill Tumblr fics from @francisthegreat​; one for Kylo and one for Hux. The latter is an AU set in the same verse as Make Me.  As you would wish for anyone’s first sexual experience to be, these are caring and sweet/hot.  Spot-on dialogue.

AUs - Mostly Modern

I Need a Fix ‘Cause I’m Going Down by m4jor3tt3, @majortom-writes
E - 26,400, updated 12/31/16
Modern AU set in the LA area in the unstable cultural landscape that followed 1967’s Summer of Love.  Hux is a teenager with a bright future whose life trajectory is violently altered when he comes to the attention of Kylo and his band of Charles Manson-esque groupies.  The author has a light, but sure, hand at showing the methods and thought processes of a charismatic cult leader, which is an insightful way of looking at the familiar characters from TFA.  Also - Hux drops acid.

A Figment of His Imagination by @verybadhedgehog
NR (there are some M or E scenes) - 17,200
Modern AU where TFA exists only in the notebooks of teenage le super nerd Hux (“…and a few years later, Armitage finds his old embarrassing teenage Moleskines and is fully ‘HOW THE HELL did I not realise how gay I was. Spoiler, clueless sixteen year old nerd me, you are super super gay”).  Hux’s ‘Kylo Ren’ is based on that annoying goth kid at school, Ben.  They reconnect several years later on Grindr.  Witty and sophisticated.

Starsick And Sprinting From A Black Hole by pxncey
M - 36,400, updated 1/3/17
1950s Southern Gothic AU; Hux is a high school teacher and Kylo his unruly student.  Terrible doings are hinted at in Hux’s past, and he seems to be slowly losing his grip on reality.  At least one person has turned up dead, and he’s been seeing things - namely, a sort of shape-shifting creature.  You can probably guess who this might be.  Phasma knows something, but she’s not saying.  The author really gets that ‘my mind might be unravelling but I don’t really care’ feeling just right.

Measures by @clutchhedonist
E - 13,400
After reading Downbeat  and Bohemian Rhapsody, I was in the mood for more classicalmusic!Kylux.  The tag combination ‘Belligerent Sexual Tension’ and ‘Kink and Classical Music AU’ delivers on its promise.  Kylo is a bass player and freshman in the music honors program; Hux is a grad student, concertmaster, and dom/bondage enthusiast.  They can’t stand each other in person, but under pseudonyms through a fetish dating app?  That’s something else.  The writing is vivid and assured.

Nodus Tollens by faithharkness, @lyssawrotethat
M - 11,400, updated 10/9/2016
Modern AU with severePTSD!Hux, physical therapist!Rey, formerMMAfighterturnedscifiauthor!Kylo, and Lando Calrissian (“I am a man of fascinating contradictions and habits,” Lando said, smiling broadly.), gym owner.  It’s also an AU where Brendol Hux Sr is a supportive dad, and Han & Leia are trying hard.


List #1 - Completed Works
List #2 - Works in Progress (as of early January)
List #3
List #5
List #6