Who knows the Lord of the Rings? Yeah. Who knows the sword that cut the Ring…?
This is not that sword.
So, the first time anyone picks up an actual real steel sword, the look in their eyes, from small children to old ladies- there’s a certain magic about that moment.
These are the words of my friend Fran Terminiello. She’s a sword fighter in the UK. And like so many of us, she’s passionate about Historical European Martial Arts. Who knows that word? Yeah? A few of you?
Historical European Martial Arts are the martial arts of medieval Europe. Yes, they existed. They were very complicated, very beautiful, just as like the Asian martial arts are. And, unfortunately, they died out, which is why most of us don’t actually know about them these days. But for those of us who are completely crazy about swords, we have been recreating the arts from fighting manuals- books that were left from the people who actually studied in those ancient times.
And they were very good about leaving us lots of information. Not all the information that we needed, but just enough. So using our understanding of martial arts and working with the actual weapons, we’ve been able to recreate these arts. But when I was very young I didn’t know that they existed.
I was crazy about swords, from probably about this big. And I was introduced to swords the way most of us are, through the movies. I was a very small child and I saw Robin Hood, and Peter Pan, and all those squashbuckling kind of movies, which introduced me to heroism. And when I was four years old, my mum actually made me my first sword.
It wasn’t a beautiful steel sword- and I don’t think I would have known what to do with it anyway- it was a wooden sword, and it was small, and it was white, and my mum painted it, she put it out to dry…. and the next day, we came home to find that our home had been burnt to the ground.
I was four years old.
So I lived in Australia, and these things happen. Unfortunately fires- bushfires- are a really big part of that country, because it’s such a dry environment, and people really- you know, to live there, you’ve really got to be aware of your environment. And unfortunately, you know, when we came home and our home was burnt down it wasn’t that unusual.
There was a question that maybe it was bush rats. Now, I love rats, as you know, so I don’t hold it against them if it were.
My mum also loved animals, and the thing is… I didn’t live in a normal house. I lived on a campsite. My mum had actually bought a campsite from the YMCA, and so when I say that, ‘our home burnt down’, it was actually my mum’s apartment and the main barn, and my little cabin was fine. My little cabin with its four-year-old treasures.
But my mum unfortunately lost everything that day. And to anyone who’s experienced losing everything, it’s quite devastating. Especially the animals, so all of my mum’s animals were killed, except for her horse, and I was fine.
So they said it was possibly bush rats, but there was a question maybe, possibly, the electrical heater had been left on, and I might have left my dressing gown on it.
Now I can tell you this, if you have a small child in your life, don’t ever, ever, let them think something like that is their fault. My mum didn’t, but the question was there. So you can imagine growing up with that kind of question mark in your mind, it just- it can create so much guilt. So much responsibility for someone so young.
And my mum was a professional psychologist, which meant that I got really good at 'being fine’. You know? (laughs) I learnt how to get on with things and I also convinced myself that I was fine, for a really long time.
And I was anyway a really strange kid. I was one of those kids that… (whispers knowingly) they’re kind of weird. You don’t really know how to talk to them… (normal voice) …because they’re always doing something weird like… turning… the… rubbish pile into a dragon…. or something, you know, just one of those weird kids that’s always in their own little world.
And that, honestly, was how I dealt with my reality, was by creating fantasy worlds. I was extremely creative; I was very artistic, you know, I had stories that I was building all the time, and that was how I dealt with things. I was really escaping. And that’s such a good coping strategy for a while. And if you are a creative person, it’s a wonderful way to turn trauma into something that you can use to understand your world.
I have to turn my page, excuse me.
Do you also know the TV series, the Dollhouse? Does anyone know it? The director is Joss Whedon, who’s also known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Avengers…. That guy.
So he created this great TV series called, 'the Dollhouse’. And there’s this great quote from it that goes, “When you see someone running incredibly fast, you have to ask yourself, are they running from something, or are they running to something?” And the quote continues, “the answer is always both. Achievement is always balanced by fault, by a lack. You see someone that’s a high achiever, and they’re overcompensating.”
Now I don’t completely think that everyone who achieves is overcompensating- I just think it’s the majority of us.
So that quote really rings true for me, because I spent most of my life trying to run basically, from what had happened. Trying to pretend to be okay. But the thing that really cut through my fantasy- you know, the adventure and heroism of my fantasy worlds- was the sword. Because everyone can relate to a sword, right?
I mean, it’s at the centre of all our mythology, it’s this, epic kind of heroic symbol, and it’s something that’s attached to a very real martial arts form.
So when found out that actually European Martial Arts existed, I was still very much a fantasy-loving geek who was into 'Lord of the Rings’, and just wanted to be dressing up all the time, but I also wanted to learn everything I could about this beautiful weapon.
So I did.
And something interesting happened. Because the thing about martial arts, is it forces you to move. It forces you to be present, in your body. So even though the sword was my tool, I realised something really interesting- I was the sword. The sword was me.
And- I think that having a weapons-based martial art is a great way to get people to learn to fight because you can focus outside of your body, but eventually you have to be able to bring it back into yourself. You have to be able to read a situation, you have to be sensing the amount of force that’s in something.
What you don’t usually see in the movies is pressure. When swords bind like this, they’re pushing on each other. The amount of force- if I push too hard, it’s going to leave this one moving. So in movies, you see a lot of this. That kind of thing, right? Looks really familiar.
Rah! I’m going to smash you, I’m going to smash you, I’m going to smash you…!
Actually, you don’t want to do that in a real fight, because the moment you step away- dead. So you want to control the other person in a fight, you want to use the sword to move. You’re moving them, and you’re moving yourself as well.
And the thing about a sword fight, is that when you’re too close to use a sword, you’re going to use your body. You’re going to use the sword in unusual ways. It’s a weapon. You can use any side of it.
You can use the pommel, you can use the hilt. It’s this wonderful versatile thing, and there’s a reason it was so popular for thousands of years.
So learning all this really taught me how to be present. Which was something that a person growing up and surviving trauma has trouble learning. It’s like a disconnect that’s there to keep you safe. You know?
If you’ve lived through trauma, and you’re reliving that trauma every day, it can disable you. So you have to disconnect because that’s your survival.
But you also have to move on because the fear will eat you alive. And the thing that is very real for me is fear. I always am afraid. It’s like the Hulk, you know? (deep voice) “I’m always angry- that’s my secret. I’m Bruce Banner.”
(normal voice) I am always afraid. But you know, being always afraid means you have an opportunity to always be brave. Because if you’re not afraid of something, and you don’t have that fear in place, you never really know what it is you need to overcome.
I’ve learnt that fear is like a guide. If I’m afraid of doing something it means it’s very important. And I can avoid it… (laughs) I’m very good at avoiding things- but I have learnt that if I do that for too long it stunts me. I’m going to be unhappy. So I’ve learnt to embrace challenge.
Now- it doesn’t mean I’ve got it completely right, but I’ve started a conversation with my fear that I find very useful. So instead of thinking of fear as this thing that is like this overwhelming black darkness that’s going to eat you alive and it’s a demon around every corner, no- not at all.
See my fear is actually a very small child. Or at least, this is how I think of it. It’s more than one child, it’s a small me that’s been hurt throughout my life. All that pain, all that fear- it’s become a little person. So it’s like a group of little people who are really scared.
And if I try and ignore my fear … well, it’s like a kid, you know? They’re going to feel hurt, and they’re going to be more and more insistant on wanting to understand the thing that they’re afraid of, or trying to get your attention, like, “Oh no, don’t do that thing! I know it’s going to be bad, I know it’s going to be bad! I know it’s going to be bad!”
And it will get stronger, and stronger, and stronger the more you push it away. So you can’t do that. Or I can’t, anyway.
I’ve had to change my tactics. It’s like dealing with a hydra, you know, you push one away and another head just comes up.
So instead, I have to take the little kids, all those little fears, and I have to look at the thing that they’re afraid of. And I have to go, “Okay. I see that thing. I see what it is. I understand that there’s a risk there. How can we deal with this risk?”
So you have to actually look at the thing you’re afraid of and do it anyway. But you have to do it in a way that acknowledges that you’re afraid.
So since I changed that conversation with myself, the story around my fear, its really helped. Because it means that I can see myself as a hero overcoming things, but instead of making my fear the monster, I see the challenge as the monster. The challenge of the thing.
You know, if you ever go out into the mountains- think of Lord of the Rings, okay, trekking across Middle Earth… so many mountains, so many unknown places…. The fear is going to that place, because you don’t know what’s going to be there. You could get hurt. You could lose everything. And in Lord of the Rings they do have a great deal of loss. But they keep going, even though they’re afraid. And being able to frame your life as a story, having that narrative, it’s a powerful tool for courage.
I need to change my page again, excuse me.
So the thing is, if I’m afraid, and I can overcome it, I know you can too. You have to make a decision, every single day. You have to decide, am I going to follow the thing I love, which gives me strength, gives me confidence, or am I going to hide and let that thing, that thing that I can’t quite look at or deal with, am I going to let that rule my life?
And it’s a decision, guys. It’s a decision to be a hero. And I promise you, once you create a practice of being a hero, one day, you’ll wake up, and you will be that person.
oh sweet neon boy with a halo of halogen light. it tastes good, doesn’t it? to dance like this in the haze of the bar, one drink down with his eyes on you all glittering dark. it feels good like this, to get lost, fixated on the way his painted fingernails tap and shift, watch the full curve of his bottom lip and that grin that reaches the crinkles around his eyes. isn’t he handsome like this? and your heart is beating like a kick drum, because damn if he isn’t brilliant. with his kohl rimmed eyes, the lord of the pool table, humming close to you like a fallen saint, backlit by fairy lights. he’s falling in love with you alec but you don’t know that yet. you’re just a boy with long fingers, the taste of beer thick at the back of your throat and he’s the most handsome thing you’ve ever seen. you want to learn how his name feels in your mouth when his fingers are lost in your hair, don’t you? and tonight? tonight you can’t find it in you to feel guilty about that. because tonight magnus bane is watching you like you’re made of something greater than carbon and you’re realizing you were made to play this game.
Vimes was only half surprised when the doors to the Rats Chamber opened and there, sitting at the head of the table, was Lord Rust. The Patrician wasn’t there. He was half surprised. That is, at a certain shallow level he thought, that’s odd, I thought you couldn’t budge the man with a siege weapon. But at a dark level, where the daylight seldom penetrated, he thought: of course. At a time like this men like Rust rise to the top. It’s like stirring a swamp with a stick. Really big bubbles are suddenly on the surface and there’s a bad smell about everything.
“You are removed from authority, commander. And the Watch will come under the direct command of this council. Is that understood?” Rust turned to Carrot. “Captain Carrot, many of us here have heard… good reports about you, and by due authority I hereby appoint you acting Commander of the Watch–” Vimes shut his eyes. Carrot saluted smartly. “No! Sir!” Vimes opened his eyes wide. “Really?” Rust stared at Carrot for a few moments, and then gave a little shrug. “Ah, well… loyalty is a fine thing. Sergeant Colon?” “Sir!” “In the circumstances, and since you are the most experienced noncommissioned officer and have an exemp– and have a military record, you will take command of the Watch for the duration of the… emergency.” “Nossir!” “That was an instruction, sergeant.” Beads of sweat began to form on Colon’s brow. “Nossir!” “Sergeant!” “You can put it where the sun does not shine, sir!” said Colon desperately.
– the Watch responds to Lord Rust | Terry Pratchett, Jingo
I say I’m not going to work on my Tsukkiyama Beauty and the Beast AU and what do I do? Work on it.
In which I totally ignore the other numerous stories I have up. As usual.
It was quiet in the dining hall, Tadashi at one end of the
long table, the Lord at the other end, seemingly bored. Tadashi supposed he’d
be bored too, if he had to sit at a table and watch someone else eat. But, that
raised the question of why the castle’s Lord didn’t eat and since he already
asked that question and quite remembered the answer, he chose not to try again.
“What’s your name?” The Lord blinked slowly and when his eyes opened, they were
trained on Tadashi. He jerked, flushing to his ears and looking down at his
plate. “I-I’m sorry…”
“I don’t have one.”
Tadashi flicked his eyes up. The Lord didn’t seem angry, nor
was he annoyed. Amused might be the term, but Tadashi was learning he often
made faces that didn’t reflect his true feelings. Resigned, perhaps? “You—you
don’t have a name?”
The Lord tilted his golden head, amber eyes trained on him.
Tadashi swallowed, willing himself to keep eye contact (despite how it pained
him to do so). Then, a quirk of his lips that was definitely amusement. “My
name no longer exists. As the people who once knew me have forgotten, it is no
longer necessary. It is as though I never existed. And as they continue to
forget, my name with go with their memory.”
“B-but… but that means—you have one?”
The Lord’s smile dropped, amber eyes showing the beginnings
of irritation. “And just as they have forgotten me, they’ll forget you too. You
will lose your name, your existence, and no one will remember you, Yamaguchi
Tadashi. You’ll be a memory, of a person they once knew, of someone who went
away and never came back. Sure, in the beginning, they’ll think of you, after
that?” The Lord tilted his chin up, a motion so smug it reminded Tadashi of
Oikawa when he was being petty and winning. “No one will remember your name. You’ll
cease to exist.”
“My family will remember me,” Tadashi hissed, brows pulled
together and hands curled to fists in his lap.
“Of-course! They’ll never
“And when they die?”
Tadashi paused, eyes widening at the thought. He took in a
breath, then another, shakier, one.
When they died.
His grandmother was already so old, it wasn’t impossible for
her to pass before he returned. He had his mother, but her health wasn’t the
best. His uncle would watch over her and take care of her, but what if the
winter was harsh and the spring wet? And he had Shouyo and Natsu; Shouyo would
remember him, definitely, but Natsu? She was only six, would she remember a
fuzzy face from her childhood she never saw again?
“My friends will remember me,” he murmured, tearing at the
terrible thought. Would he never return? Would he spent his days, trapped here
by a magic he couldn’t understand or break, trapped here while his grandmother
died and his mother followed, his uncle too busy to think of him except for the
work he left behind? His friends who would remember, but think of his less and
less as the years passed and their lives continued and life went on.
He pushed away from the table, lurching across the room and
wrenching open the door, swallowing down his sobs as he ran down the hallway,
stumbling up the stairs until he found the familiar hallway that housed his
room, frantic footsteps following behind him. He wailed low, slamming into his
door and then locking it with trembling fingers behind him, a small thump
telling him Kuroo wasn’t expecting that, the cat yowling over his bruised nose.
He threw himself onto his bed, muffling his sobs in the
pillow, ignoring how it really didn’t quiet them much.
“Freckles, that hurt…”
Kuroo whined outside his door, scratching at the wood. “Hey, come on, don’t be sad. Freckles, open the door, huh? I know he’s
really insensitive, but open the door, okay? Let me cuddle or something.”
He didn’t even have a name here, only when the Lord saw fit
to mock him or make a point.
He was going to die here, wasn’t he? Alone, with none of his
friends or family even knowing what happened, and without anyone knowing his
You made him cry!”
“Kuroo, be quiet.”
“Oho, so you know I’m—watch
“You aren’t even
sorry!” the quiet knock on his door was heard even over Kuroo’s yowling.
At-least he knew his name, but that didn’t make him feel any better. “I didn’t mean to upset you. This has been
something I’ve lived with for many years. I’d forgotten not everyone thinks
like me.” There was something suspiciously like a snort, then a cat’s
screech. ”Go away, Kuroo.”
“Rude! You can’t just
grab my—hey! Fine! I’m going! But I’m telling Akaashi!”
Silence fell and Tadashi sat up, sniffing lowly, swiping at
“They sound nice.”
“Your friends. I hope,
for your sake, they do remember you.”
Tadashi swallowed, slipping off the bed and swiping at his
eyes again. He inched towards the door, reaching out to take hold of the handle
before sucking down a breath. He clicked it open, peering out to see the Lord
moving towards the end of the hall. He paused in his retreat, tilting his head
so a single golden eye could peer back at him. Tadashi swallowed again,
stepping out his room and clasping his hands behind his back. The Lord turned
slightly, not quite facing him, but enough that Tadashi knew he was listening.
“What’s your name?”
The Lord straightened up to his full height, head turning
fully now, amber burning into Tadashi’s brown eyes. “I no longer have cause to
“Then… could I give you one? I feel it’s rude not to address
you by name…” Tadashi felt odd offering to name a person, but he also didn’t want to merely call him…
“Does a monster mean that much to you?”
“You’re not a
monster!” He blinked at his words, then took a step back, hands raised to cover
his mouth. A faint ‘oho?’ echoed down
the hall. “I-I mean, um—“
“Very well. Since it means so much to you.” The Lord tilted
his head up, watching him for a moment longer, before a smirk pulled at his
lips, revealing sharpened teeth in a smile that glittered. He brought an arm
out, folding it across his torso and dipping into a bow. A low whistle came
from down the hall, along with a soft hooting Tadashi identified as Bokuto’s. “Until
tomorrow evening, Yamaguchi.”
The Demon of Progress and the Angel of Conservativism Duke It Out over, of All Things, Stoves in Meeting-Houses.
Architectural history reading week has been wild.
S. G. Goodrich, Recollections of a Lifetime: Or, Men and Things I Have Seen, in a Series of Familiar Letters to a Friend, Historical, Biographical, anecdotical, and Descriptive (New York City: Miller, Orton and Mulligan, 1861), 1:134-136.
I like how Eren’s all worried and sweating about everyone and the cleaning that needs to be done; just to satisfy Levi. It’s like everyone is all like, “Idgaf about that dumb ass shit” and Eren’s all “DO ALL OF YOUR GODAMN WORK SO LEVI CAN LOVE ME”
And then it turns out that it didn’t come out very clean and everyone’s just like “oh well” and Eren is like “shitshitdamnit i forgot all about the table oh lord jesus why please forgive me heichou”. I just like how he wants to make Heichou happy :)
*Hands you a registration form* I’ll just need you to fill this out. Once you’re done with that, you’ll need to take your form over to our all-powerful panda overlord (AKA the club president),Yuramec, and then you’re good to go.