Matt is honest to God my rock in life. this morning when I burst into tears for who knows why he was quiet and he was gentle, he held my hands and made sure i went home because I couldn’t have coped a day in the shop. when I have non verbal moments he is patient and doesn’t force me to speak, he just let’s me come out of it on my own. he believes in me when I say I can do something and is the best cheerleader when it comes to doing it. he surprises me with little presents all the time from books to plushies to my favourite sweets all simply because he cares. he let’s me cry on him all the time and doesn’t care it makes his shirts damp, he puts his after shave on my blankets so my room smells like him, he accepts the fact I’m trans and tries so so hard to get my pronouns right, I keep thinking I couldn’t love him more and then every day I do
Twelve years ago was the last time I was in a position similar to this. What I mean by that is one where the family lost one of its leaders, one of its stars. I can’t remember the last time I had seen so many of you gathered in one room, but it’s really reminiscent of when Granny Mearl passed away in 2005. This feeling isn’t new. It’s familiar. However, there are some immediate differences and some things I hope will be different. For starters, I wasn’t one of the people speaking. I was one of the young ones meant to stay amongst everyone and just listen. I didn’t go up to see the body. There was only pain and sadness inside me and just a lot of confusion.
Granny Elo was a woman of strong emotional intelligence and great spiritual presence. Those are some things I’d like to think I got from her… Her timing was always perfect for a phone call. There would be no overt sign, but there she would be. “I wonder how _________ is doing today. I’m going to call.” “I’m going to spend a few days by __________’s house.” No one questioned it. Whenever she had a feeling, it was usually right. She could sense any emotional disturbance from the slightest change in voice. She used those two traits so skillfully, and I think I was one of people directly affected by them the most. When I was younger, she would always use it to catch my hand in the cookie jar. I used to get in so much trouble as a kid.
The most prominent time she used these two traits came in March 2015 for me. It was a little over halfway through my first year of college, and I just wasn’t doing well. I wasn’t living right. I had hurt someone that I loved very dearly and in the process, I hurt myself. It was a lot for a 19 year old kid to deal with. It’s a lot for anyone to deal with. Depression was resting on my spirit hard. There would be nights where I was physically unable to go to sleep. I wasn’t eating. I wouldn’t even leave my room. I didn’t know how I’d manage. I got my answer a little later on. Here comes a surprise phone call from Granny, who had been in Guyana for some months but said she felt the need to randomly come back to the US. She gave me the usual run around of asking me how I’m doing and things like that, but I didn’t think I gave anything away. Towards the end of the call, her tone changes and she says, “Take care of yourself until the next time I see you.” Whatever cool I was trying to keep, whatever front I was trying to put up just shattered. I let the walls come down, and it all came out. We just talked and talked and talked. I explained to her everything, even things from when I was a kid. There were jokes thrown in here and there, but there were also a lot of serious bits of advice. From this call is where I got one of my mottos, one that I attempt to live by each day: lead a life with love. I was already on the path I am today, but that call helped me get back on it as I was dangerously close to falling off of it.
My mom called me at 5:40AM and woke me out of my sleep to tell me what happened. I missed the call but called back at 5:46AM. She went peacefully in her sleep. I couldn’t get back to sleep afterwards for obvious reasons. I called my dad, my maternal (I think that’s the right way to say it) grandmother, and I spoke to Aunty Sonia on the phone. I went about my day. I went to classes, I had lunch, and then I went to my room. When I go back, I sat in bed and just reflected on her and her life. I remembered when she used to babysit me by Aunty Cherril’s old house. I was a little boy being told to stay with this woman much older than me for hours on end. She’d have me watch game shows and basketball games. I didn’t like it at first, but I warmed up to it. Eventually, I was in to it just as much as she was. She’d always tell me that could be you someday when referencing the winners of the game shows or some of the NBA players we’d watch. After sitting in silence for a bit in my room at school, I decided to watch an episode of Jeopardy. I went on to YouTube and watched highlights from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. I pulled up some highlights from the most recent Knicks game and complained about their ineptitude to play basketball. Those are some of my fondest memories with Granny from when I was a child: laying with her in bed, watching television as she held me. After I watched the last clip, I cried and fell asleep with a smile on my face. Maybe using that same spiritual presence I mentioned earlier, she held me for one last time. I got the best sleep I had gotten in a long time, the same sleep I’d like to imagine she’s enjoying right now.
At the same time that I’m here meant to mourn the loss of Granny Elo, I think I better understand what I’m supposed to do than I did twelve years ago. Mourning is necessary, but so is celebration. My grandmother lived a full life of 81 years, one that she was lucky enough to share with so many people both directly and indirectly. The people I love are the people she loved. I introduced Granny Elo to my best friend and my roommate from college Tylar two months ago, and although she had never met this young man before, they shared a moment. He told her she had a great grandson, and she thanked him for helping take care of me for all these years. Little things like that help create the picture who Granny Elo was.
Not only did she live a full life, but it’s one that I am so proud of. I wouldn’t be here today without her. Most, if not all of us, wouldn’t be here today. I look in the crowd and see faces similar to mine the first time I experienced this. I guess what I’m trying to say is to just be appreciative of the life she’s given us, one that she’s made possible and to do as she did and lead a life with love. Use this as an opportunity to come closer rather than to divide. Her accomplishments are my accomplishments. My accomplishments are Terrell’s accomplishments. Terrell’s are Uncle Oscar’s. Recognize that, and appreciate them. Appreciate them, and appreciate each other and all the time we have together.
So, my OCs exist in the resurgence of the Great War, soon after the events of TES V. So we’ve got the Aldmeri Dominion (check dem babies out), the neutral parties (who are illustrated above), and the yet to be drawn Bosmeri Resistance and Imperial Legions. This is all going down in Valenwood by the way. The Dominion is getting pushed off the mainland.
Laelia: Orphan Breton, rescued by Ragna, Mearle and their recently departed friend Myrgjol while adventuring in Skyrim. Ragna’s a young, cocky conjurer. Rather stuck up.
Ragna: Laelia’s Nord sister who was also scooped up by Mearle+Myrgjol. When she was found running around Riften at 11, she was already taller and stronger than Mearle. Since then, she has transformed from an abused, violent dock rat into a disciplined, stoic protector.
Mearle: He’s this silly, compassionate adventurer, worshiper of Mara, defender of the innocent whether they be human, Altmer or otherwise.
Gallus: Breton wizard, Destruction magic specialist, kicked out of the Arcane University for forging his enrollment documents, clever, arrogant, hilarious. Working with the next four guys down to commit unlawful acts of thievery. He gets separated from that crew and lost with Mearle in Eldengrove. The couple adorably hook up after weeks of bickering.
Dar'Hijhiim: Khajiit swindler. Leader of a band of thieves looking to take advantage of the chaos of the Second Great War.
Tlzem: In Dar'Hijhiim’s troupe along with Gallus and the Orc twins. He’s the least immoral of the bunch. He was a jeweler who fled Black Marsh to evade punishment for skipping a monthly tribute payment, so really, he’s not cut out for crime.
Burlog and Burleg: Orsimer twins, loyal to Dar'Hijhiim. They are rarely given cause to fight. Dar'Hijhiim uses them for intimidation.
Glenien: (HORNS. HORNS. WHY SO HARD WHY) An ancient Bosmeri Shaman of the the Triclove Sect who was transformed into a beast ages ago in a Wild Hunt. He stumbled into Eldengrove where he slowly began to regain his…. humanity? Merity? Personhood? Do you get what I’m saying? Mearle and Gallus accidentally wake him up and he becomes their giant, confused, adorable guide.
Edit: Apparently this ‘Mearl’; Connie was telling Pearl a story so she was imagining herself as the main character. Thanks to the people who informed me! Still kind of ‘Pearl with long hair’, so I’m still happy.
Quick, sloppy sketch of Skyrim NPCs who play huge roles in my dragonborn’s (Mearle) life. Oh, and one original character because wah, nerdom.
Mjoll: World’s nicest borderline psychopath. She just wants to fight and kill all the things. She is Mearle’s BFF. They are very similar in their love of justice and their inexplicable ability to be adorable.
Marcurio: Mearle’s sarcastic, arrogant though utterly loving husband. Huzzah for the Nord’s progressive marriage policy! I feel like the text by Marcurio is something he wants to say to Mearle all the time.
Creepy Lydia: Seriously though. Sitting in Mearle’s room, watching him sleep, whispering horrific nothings in his ear. Not ok Lydia.
The Kids: Lucia and Runa. Adopted. Lucia is tough, active, though can be sensitive. Runa is brilliant and a tad manipulative, but a good kid overall.
Dremora: Doesn’t have a really personal connection to Mearle, but damn, Mearle would not have gotten through the black books without this (these?) guy(s).
Neloth: I just wanted to draw Neloth because I love him.
Adris: Not an NPC. He’s from Mearle’s past. Plotting a comic and I want to keep him a secret for now. Let’s just say “evil” is not a strong enough term for him.