[MYTHOLOGY MEME] 1/3 Locations - The Land of Prester John

The legends of Prester John were popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, and told of a king who ruled in a far off land. In 1165 a letter from Prester John was sent to the Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus, and it detailed further the strange and mystical world he ruled, a place where where strange creatures resided, as well as marvels such as the Gates of Alexander, Fountain of Youth, and the entranceway to the Earthly Paradise:

I, Presbyter Johannes, the Lord of Lords, surpass all under heaven in virtue, in riches, and in power; seventy-two kings pay us tribute … In the three Indies our Magnificence rules, and our land extends beyond India, where rests the body of the holy apostle Thomas [Judas the Twin]; it reaches towards the sunrise over the wastes, and it trends toward deserted Babylon near the Tower of Babel. Seventy-two provinces, of which only a few are Christian, serve us. Each has its own king, but all are tributary to us.

Our land is the home of elephants, dromedaries, camels, crocodiles, meta-collinarum, cametennus, tensevetes, wild asses, white and red lions, white bears, white merules, crickets, griffins, tigers, lamias, hyenas, wild horses, wild oxen, and wild men – men with horns, one-eyed men, men with eyes before and behind, centaurs, fauns, satyrs, pygmies, forty-ell high giants, cyclopses, and similar women. It is the home, too, of the phoenix and of nearly all living animals.

We have some people subject to us who feed on the flesh of men and of prematurely born animals, and who never fear death. When any of these people die, their friends and relations eat him ravenously, for they regard it as a main duty to munch human flesh. These and similar nations were shut in behind lofty mountains by Alexander the Great, towards the north. We lead them at our pleasure against our foes, and neither man nor beast is left undevoured, if our Majesty gives the requisite permission. And when all our foes are eaten, then we return with our hosts home again.

Rider of Black (Astolfo)

A fictional character in the French novel, Matter of France and one of Charlemagne's twelve paladins. He was trapped in the form of a myrtle tree by the sorceress Alcina. When Ruggiero attempted to rescue him, he too is turned into a tree before the sorceress Melissa frees them.

His magical horn is so loud, any who hear it flee in terror, and he rides on the horse Rabicano, who was made from a hurricane. When it ran, it went faster than an arrow.

He would visit both Hell and the Moon on two separate occasions. He was said to have returned from the Moon with a jar of Orlando’s wits thus earning him the trust of Prester John, a famed Christian king, who would help him defend Paris from invaders.

So @fictograph asked for book recs so here’s a LIST. With LINKS: 

Adult SFF


YA Contemporary 

Things I Tend to Rec Less in lists simply because my mere existence is a recommendation to read them:

† Adult/YA crossover 
** standalone 

The secrets of Portugal

The secrets of the Order of Christ

Portuguese conquistador, Afonso de Albuquerque, made plans for a crusade to invade and conquer Jerusalem, Mecca, and Medina, during the 16th century.

It is widely believed he was poisoned by the command of the Catholic Church, just after he assembled the Portuguese army for the crusade, preventing him from going forth with his plan.

Afonso de Albuquerque’s main goal was to dismantle Islam, and in many ways he was successful in doing so. Thanks to many of his conquests, Portugal eradicated Islam’s ruling presence from Asia.

Afonso’s monarch, the King of Portugal Don Manuel I, supported his intentions, but did a vital error. The Portuguese monarch requested permission from the Pope to start the invasion of Jerusalem, Mecca and Medina. During this period, Venice was completely bankrupted, after losing its trade routes to Portugal. The Pope was highly connected to Venice, if Portugal would continue to rise, Venice would die and therefore so would the Pope’s economical influence.

However, this is not the main reason for his refusal. Portugal had in its hands the secrets of the Knights Templar, which were a threat to the Catholic Church during this period. 

Centuries earlier, Portuguese King Don Dinis the Poet, refused to persecute and kill Templars in 1307, and instead, he protected the Templars who were able to survive and re-instituted their order, renaming it the Order of Christ.

Portugal was founded by Templars. Just 6 years after the Knights Templar were formed, there was already an order of them in Portugal, during the 1120′s.

After the put down of the Templars, Portugal was the only kingdom that continued to own Templars, reforming them into the Order of Christ, in which centuries later, led the Portuguese navigators and explorers to venture into unknown uncharted lands to spread Christianity all over the world.

This is why when you see an exploration - Portuguese - vessel, you see a red cross on its sails, and also on necklaces of Portuguese navigators, nobles, and monarchs too. 

That is the cross of the Order of Christ.

The Portuguese started the Age of Exploration with 4 main purposes: to reach the Taprobana, to reach Asia, dismantle Islam, and find the mythic Kingdom of Prester John in Ethiopia - which until its discovery by the Portuguese, was deemed as a fantasy. Imagine yourself seeing on the news that someone found Atlantis. When the Portuguese found the Kingdom of Prester John, everyone in Europe fell to amazement and disbelief, just as if today someone would to find Atlantis.

For centuries, this Kingdom of Prester John, was deemed as a pure fantasy tale from the Middle Ages. The reason why the Portuguese wanted to discover this realm, is because they believed this kingdom also contained secrets related to the very early foundations of Christendom. The idea of a Christian kingdom in Africa, was perceived as ridiculous, but as it turns out, it was real.

When the Portuguese knights of the Order of Christ reached and found this ‘Atlantis’, by sea, they saw Christian crosses on the shields of the warriors in the shores, the Portuguese immediately rose their own crosses to the air, and everyone present fell into the arms of each other in joy.

Plans were made to marry princes and princesses between both kingdoms. Imagine today, an European royal house marrying members of an hypothetical royal house of Atlantis, this is exactly how it felt like, an impossible privilege we can only fantasize about.

The relations between the Kingdom of Prester John and Portugal were highly cursed by the Catholic Church. Portugal, the only kingdom that still had Templars, connected to one of the oldest Christian kingdoms related to the foundations of Christendom. 

The threats were too many, Portugal during this period, had military control over all the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean. 

The first maritime and global empire, on the verge to find the remaining secrets of the Knights Templar.

All this while they were fighting Islam in Asia, Africa and in the Middle East.

As previously said, the Portuguese owned the secrets of the Knights Templar, but there was a part missing on the documentation found in Portugal. They believed the rest was in this mythic kingdom, the reason for the purpose of its discovery. Why did they believe this kingdom had the missing documentation? Because after the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, it is believed many documents related to the foundations of Christianity ended up in that kingdom. The Portuguese strongly believed in this, which is why they made so much efforts to find this kingdom that no one else believed existed.

The very first order given to all the Portuguese navigators during the Age of Exploration was: “Bring me news from the Kingdom of Prester John!”

At the same time, Afonso de Albuquerque and the Order of Christ, highly deemed Islam as a threat to Christianity, to such an extent, that Portugal assembled many successful crusades against Muslim rulers from any continent Muslims could be found. 

Their expansions even reached Saudi Arabia.

The final stage, would be to conquer Jerusalem, Mecca, and Medina, Portugal was ready, the Portuguese were ready, the army was ready, but fate and outside interests would conspire against the Portuguese dream. Don Manuel I commited the error of trusting the Pope’s judgement and also dared to send the Pope a letter, complaining about the Borgias scandals, he literally said to the Pope to “clean up his house”. Don Manuel I ended up poisoned, Afonso de Albuquerque was poisoned, by the Catholic Church, and any hopes of such deeds were lost forever. 

All of the 9 sons of the next Portuguese monarch, Don João III, also died of “mysterious deaths”, only one lived long enough to leave an heir, the father of Don Sebastião, who mysteriously disappeared and still to this day we do not know what happened to him. 

Relations between Portugal and the Kingdom of Prester John didn’t end after the death of Don Manuel I. 

 In 1541-43, Cristóvão da Gama led a successful Portuguese crusade against the far larger Somali Muslim armies lead by Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi aided by the Ottoman Empire, who were invading the Kingdom of Prester John. 

Portugal forced them out after several battles.

Don Manuel I, King of Portugal and the Algarves, during his reign, was known by his people and foreigners as “o Cristianíssimo”, Portuguese for “the most Christian of all the Christians.”

Don Manuel I, was the first ruler of all the seas, after Poseidon.

A few Portuguese historians have had their lives threatened for daring to tell this story. This is not something schools in Portugal will tell you, and there is a “good” reason for it. Rome ordered the death of Portugal and its Christian dream. But despite all attempts, Portugal didn’t die, and remains a very Catholic country with much of its culture and history influenced by it.

Still to this day, the Portuguese military uses the Order of Christ’s cross:

It has been said for many centuries, and still to this day, that Portugal has 3 reasons, 3 purposes for its existance. Historians, poets and philosophers have brought this subject in their works, time and time again, in different periods.

If what they say it’s true, 2 of those purposes are completed.

The Letter That Created A Kingdom

In 1165, a letter arrived with the Byzantine emperor. It was from a great king in the East, a Presbyter (or Prester) John, who ruled over a vast and perfect Christian kingdom. In the letter, he claimed to be dedicated to the defeat of Islam and offered help in the crusades. Copies of the letter were made for the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. This was not the first people had heard of Prester John, but it was the first time it was widely believed. Copies and more copies were made, circulating around Europe, each adding their own embellishments.

The second crusade had ended recently, and quite badly for the Christian armies. Something like Prester John was just the thing to revive that Crusading zeal. Of course he was not real, but the legend persisted for centuries. Today it seems likely that the letter was created by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, to destabilize the papacy.

A map of Africa by Sebastian Munster circa 1554. 

Among the oddities of this map;

  • Modern day Somalia is labeled as “The Kingdom of Ceylon” (Sri Lanka).
  • A part of Libya is in West Africa.
  • Ethiopia is located in Central Africa.
  • There is a dense forest shown in the Sahara Desert.
  • The fabled city of Hamarich, capital city of the Kingdom of Prester John is located in Sudan or Darfur.  According to Christian European legend, Prester John was the king or emperor of a mighty Christian realm located either in Africa or Asia.  The belief in Prester John’s kingdom persisted up to the 17th century, when it was proven to have never existed.  
  • A cyclops is clearly shown sitting on the border between modern day Nigeria and Cameroon.  Appearently Europeans believed a tribe of one eyed people called the “Moniculi” live there.

Immortality is eternal life, the ability to live forever.

In religious contexts, immortality is often stated to be among the promises by God (or other deities) to human beings who show goodness or else follow divine law.

In Alchemy

The Elixir Of Life - a mythical potion that, when drunk from a certain cup at a certain time, supposedly grants the drinker eternal life and/or eternal youth. The ancient Chinese believed that ingesting long-lasting precious substances such as jade, cinnabar, or hematite would confer some of that longevity on the person who consumed them.
Comte de St. Germain an 18th-century nobleman of uncertain origin and mysterious capabilities, was also reputed to have the Elixir and to be several hundred years old. Many European recipes specify that elixir is to be stored in clocks to amplify the effects of immortality on the user. Frenchman Nicolas Flamel was also a reputed creator of the Elixir.

The Philosopher’s Stone - a legendary alchemical substance used for turning base metals into gold, also helpful for achieving immortality for whoever possesses it.

Claimed Immortals

  • Leonard “Live-Forever” Jones  (1797–1868), an eccentric who ran for President of the United States in every election between the late 1840s and 1860s on a platform of immortality. He believed that mortality was simply a matter of poor morals, and with prayer anyone could live forever. He died of pneumonia at the age of 71.
  • Sir Galahad  (dates for his life fall between the 2nd century and the 6th century), one of the three Arthurian knights to find the Holy Grail. Of them, Galahad is the only one to have achieved immortality by it.
  • John The Apostle one of Jesus’s followers. Interpreted biblical scripture found at John 21:21-23 to mean that John will tarry or remain on the earth until the Second Coming.
  • Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel (15th century AD), alchemists who were reputed in later manuscripts to have acquired immortality through the use of the Philosopher’s Stone.
  • Several originally mortal men and women whom the ancient Greeks considered historical figures, like Achilles, Ino, Helen, Memnom, Menelaus, and Peleus, achieved physical immortality through the intervention of the gods.

The Fountain of Youth

It is a spring that supposedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. Tales of such a fountain have been recounted across the world for thousands of years, appearing in writings by Herodotus  (5th century BC), the Alexander romance (3rd century CE), and the stories of Prester John(early Crusades, 11th/12th centuries CE). Stories of similar waters were also evidently prominent among the indigenous people of the Carribean during the Age of Exloration (early 15th century), who spoke of the restorative powers of the water in the mythical land of Bimini.

  • According to legend, the Spanish heard of Bimini from the Arawaks in Hispaniola, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
  •  The Caribbean islanders described a mythical land of Beimeni or Beniny (whence Bimini) , a land of wealth and prosperity, which became conflated with the fountain legend. By the time of Ponce de Leon, the land was thought to be located northwest towards the Bahamas.
  • The natives were probably referring to the Maya.
  • Sequene, an Arawak chief from Cuba,  purportedly was unable to resist the lure of Bimini and its restorative fountain. He gathered a troupe of adventurers and sailed north, never to return.

Herodotus mentions a fountain containing a special kind of water in the land of the Macrobians, which gives the Macrobians their exceptional longevity.

The Icthyophagi then in their turn questioned the king concerning the term of life, and diet of his people, and were told that most of them lived to be a hundred and twenty years old, while some even went beyond that age- they ate boiled flesh, and had for their drink nothing but milk. When the Icthyophagi showed wonder at the number of the years, he led them to a fountain, wherein when they had washed, they found their flesh all glossy and sleek, as if they had bathed in oil- and a scent came from the spring like that of violets. The water was so weak, they said, that nothing would float in it, neither wood, nor any lighter substance, but all went to the bottom. If the account of this fountain be true, it would be their constant use of the water from it which makes them so long-lived.

Fourth Walls, Insanity, and Self-Loathing in Cable & Deadpool

Deadpool continues his fine tradition of Fourth Wall breakage, and it becomes further entwined with Deadpool’s madness (or at least, how others view him). Of course, Deadpool IS insane.  He also hates himself, and all of these points mix and merge throughout the Cable & Deadpool series.

There are a LOT of instances of Fourth Wall breaking, mentions of Deadpool’s insanity, and his self-loathing found in this run. Rather than list them all (which can be found with a tag search) I’m going to just list out some of the highlights below.

Deadpool is aware of the tropes and methods of the comic medium which he expresses with this fourth wall breaking:

[Deadpool]: Well, that was the coolest expository dialogue I have ever had!

[Deadpool]: That fight lasted as long as Deathlok’s last comic

[Weasel]: And you’re saying Cable’s body was mostly made out of this stuff?
[Deadpool]: It’s a bit more complicated an’ it requires a LOT of expository dialogue
[Weasel]: Wade…are we still allowed to do flashbacks?
[Deadpool]: Who’s gonna stop me?

[Deadpool narration about Prester John]: Prester John fought the Fantastic Four and Thor, had an Evil Eye, or used an Evil Eye, I have no idea, ‘cause the handbook I usually refer to was pretty vague. Don’t know how he got here, but he’s big and has a funny mustache and Patrick gets to draw funky armor and a horse, so here he is.

[Deadpool narration]: Something about the way they looked at each other, then looked at me, got me thinkin’ now would be a the perfect time for…a sub-plot cutaway!
If you’ve only been reading comics for a few years, a sub-plot is a time-tested story-telling device for sequential fiction that alludes—which means hints—to a developing storyline that slowly escalates on a monthly base until it becomes the main story.
Adding an additional layer of complexity—or pencil-gnashing editorial anger, take your pick—is the fact that this cutaway also alludes (that still means hints) to current events happening to my good pal (okay, he hates me) Wolverine.

[Deadpool narration]: Funny, hit a new world and my first thought is “Cable took it over”. Wonder if that means anything to the themes and subtext of the story? Probably not.

[Deadpool]: DRAT! Everyone gets my voice on account of the hollow crinkly De-MEE sound it makes the funky yellow balloons. But you have me at a disadvantage, good sir.

[Cat]: We know who we are, Wilson.
[Deadpool]: I was doing it all for the kids who didn’t read the recap page.
[Diamondback]: What?
[Deadpool]: Hmm, thought I was cured of that “fourth wall” thing…

[Deadpool]: Isn’t expository dialogue informative and fun?

[Deadpool]: Now stay out of this so I can square off for the match-up that might actually increase my sales!

[Deadpool]: Of all the possible agents to use as my beast of burden, Bob, Agent of Hydra, one would almost think we were forcing you down our readers’ throats as some kind of possible LIMITED SERIES or something.
[Bob]: Huh—?
[Deadpool]: Never mind.

[Deadpool]: Man… I really thought you woulda come back by now. I mean, it’s been a few weeks. How long does it take to travel through time or clone yourself or whatever other lame explanation they’re going to come up with when you return…?

[Weasel]: Isn’t Magneto dead?
[Deadpool]: Wait ‘til the crossover…

[Deadpool]: Hey, Irene! Irene Merryweather! Ireen Merryweather, former reporter and chief of staff to my former best bud, Cable, (who died and left me with a solo team-up book, then came back to life in a big, successful crossover that I wasn’t invited to participate in)

And at one point there’s even a running gag involving his narration box/speaking out loud:

[Deadpool narration]: Weird how he could read my captions like that?
[Deadpool narration]: Hey, that’s twice now. What’s going on here?
[Bertha]: You’re saying everything out loud!
[Deadpool narration]: I am?
[Bertha]: Yes!
[Deadpool narration]: Oh. Weird. Coulda sworn I was in first person narrative form.

[Deadpool narration]: Hmmm. Must be talking out loud again.
[Deadpool]: Gotta find out what’s wrong with my first person narra—-YEEEOWWWW!

[Deadpool narration]: I could take them all out at once. That would get me my own solo book, or better, my own MOVIE. First person captions are working again.
[Random woman]: y’talkin’ t’yourself, dude.
[Deadpool]: Okay, maybe not.

[Deadpool narration]: Nnff— Bubba bubba bubba! Thought the first person narration was working again. Obviously it’s not. Oh, there you go.

[Deadpool]: Uhoh.
[Deadpool narration]: Uhoh.
[Deadpool narration]: Did I say that out loud? Echo.
[Deadpool]: Echo.

Deadpool doesn’t just have knowledge of the general comic tropes, but specific comic events he shouldn’t have knowledge of:

[Spider-Man]: Great. You got SIDEKICKS now.
[Deadpool]: I call them loyal supporting cast, Mr. Holier-than-thou-fugitive-from-the-law, Spider-Man. And I don’t have to make a deal with Mephisto to have it, either.
[Spider-Man]: ?
[Deadpool]: Never mind.

Summer Fun
[Deadpool]: I see my reputation precedes me…
[Big Bertha]: They’re talking about Squirrel Girl. She’s sort of beaten M.O.D.O.K….and Dr. Doom… And Thanos…single-handedly…
[Deadpool]: Oh, c’mon, those stories can’t actually count in CONTINUITY!

Besides just comics, his fourth wall awareness can also include the Marvel and related movie universes:

[Deadpool]: Oh, Spider-Man! What a relief!
[Spider-Man]: You SHOULD be scared of me, Deadpool.
[Deadpool]: But you were so ADORABLE in your movies, Toby Maguire-teary doe eyes, disheveled hope and that sweet lisp…

And just in general, Deadpool’s narration has information Deadpool doesn’t have:

Deadpool narration: What with me bein’ brainwashed to fight the biggest threat on earth—

[Deadpool]: Y’know I’m really beginning to wish the RECAP PAGE were part of my regular continuity, ‘cause then I might have a clue about who is responsible for this!

The problem is Deadpool’s awareness of comics/his fourth wall breaking is seen by others as just another symptom of his insanity:

[Deadpool]: I am NOT going back to any more alt-nate worlds! I mean, Days of Future Past was a classic and all, but it’s really all been done to death now…
[The others look at him puzzled]

[Deadpool]: Geez, this detail stuff always works better when it’s done between panels.
[Bob]: Are you…I mean…is there something wrong with you—I mean…MENTALLY?
[Deadpool]: You have no idea.

[Deadpool]: This guy stole my identity—even though he says I stole his—and even though I know it’s all still open for debate depending on which writer you like best, I personally would really prefer that I still be me and he not be me by not being alive!
[Poor Deadpool; Doctor Strange and Bob look puzzled by Deadpool’s breakage of the Fourth Wall]

[Irene]: Wade, Listen, since Cable died…
[Deadpool]: He’ll be back. Probably once they have a big crossover.
[Irene]: What? Never mind.

Of course, Deadpool is legitimately insane, and we see more of just how damaged he is and some of the reason he’s insane:

[Cable]: She reviewed your Weapon X program file. You’ll never be…your cognitive functions will never be normal as long as the healing factor keeps your cancer at bay.
[Deadpool]: But if we took the healing factor out of my body, the cancer will kill me?
[Cable]: Yes.

[Scientist 1]: His mental functions are…difficult…to sequester, Black Box.
[Scientist 2]: Like trying to grab an eel with oily palms

[Deadpool]: I’m a mess because the healing factor regenerates my DECAYING brain cells at such a hyper rate that it screwed with my mind.

People realize he’s insane, of course, but even knowing that, they don’t believe him when he says he doesn’t remember, or that he doesn’t know why he did things:

[Cable]: This whole “brain damage” defense will only take you so far.
[Deadpool]: Been working pretty good so far.
[Cable]: You think?
[Deadpool]: Sure, look how peachy my life is.

[Cannonball]: We identified what was done t’you Wilson, but we still don’t know who did it.
[Siryn]: Why can’t you remember Wade? It only happened to you a day ago.
[Deadpool]: I just—I just can’t…
[Siryn]: Wade, stop this! You’ve always REFUSED to focus, but you were never an AMNESIAC—You’re just playing a game!
[Deadpool]: I AM NOT! I know I didn’t used to be this bad, but I forgot when it started happening!

Except, his brain is seriously messed up and he legitimately has holes in his memory:

[Toddler Cable]: I read his mind. I saw black spots. Lots of them. I think I can clean them up.

Cable does heal Deadpool, though it burns out his powers again. Still,

[Cable]: You weren’t kidding.
[Deadpool]: What?
[Cable]: When you said you were just as much of an idiot BEFORE the brain damage.
[Deadpool]: OH. No—Totally the truth.

The heart breaking thing is Deadpool’s awareness of his insanity, and that fuels some of his self-hatred:

[Deadpool]: This ain’t my normal looney tunes world! This is like extra- crispy, handfuls of Viagra kinda crazy!
[Deadpool]: None of you can be real…I mean besides the fact you’re all DEAD…except maybe Tiamat…kooky guy…

We see pretty early on hints of Deadpool’s self-loathing. He agrees to let the One World church use his healing ability to perfect their Facade virus. Their experiments are long and very painful for Deadpool.  Cable is aware of how much suffering Deadpool is in, and while he refuses to free Deadpool, he does offer him some words of kindness:

[Cable]: I’m here. I’m with you. Just think, don’t speak.
[Deadpool]: Yeah. Thas nice t’know…an’ hey, I’m sorry—you know—for pretty much EVERYTHING. I mean, you think I got a shot— you know, at HEAVEN—just in case this don’ pan out?
[Cable]: Of course you have a chance, Wade. I’d like to think we all do

Much of Deadpool’s hatred is based on his looks:

[Cable]: The ultimate cynic bought into all of this?
[Deadpool]: And you don’t? Look at me! Remember pudding-face Wade?

Deadpool doesn’t think much about himself:

[Cable]: You opinions, Wade! He’s giving you religion, he’s giving you unity, taking away hate—and thought—he’s taking away your right to an opinion!
[Deadpool]: Case you ain’t noticed…my opinions only work to cover up the fact that I got nothing.

[Cable]: I could never lose hope, Wade. Ever.
[Deadpool]: An’ I could never afford to HAVE it. Ever.

Sometimes he expresses his self-loathing in a childish way, he throws it out in such a way it’s easy for others to dismiss:

[Alex]: I hate you!
[Deadpool]: Hah, gotcha beat. ‘Cause I hate me, too!

[Prester John]: Cable justifiably cast you from this island haven for the murder of Haji Bin Barat—you are not wanted here!
[Deadpool]: Got that beat, ‘cause I’m not wanted anywhere!

But it’s clearly not just Deadpool making jokes, because he makes the same sort of comments in his narrations:

[Deadpool narration]: HATE Alex Hayden. Hate he’s got GORGEOUS Girl Friday’s who help him. Hate he gets COOL JOBS. Hate he’s BETTER at being me than I am. HATE.

Of course, Deadpool has some pretty terrible things in his past. He’s a mercenary, a killer for hire, and while he’s trying to do better, he’s still haunted by the sins of his past:

[Ajax-Ghost]: Yeah, Wade, he didn’t do anything, but you have. You killed me. You killed ALL of us. How many have you killed, Wade? Lost track probably, right?
[Deadpool]: No, I haven’t!
[Ajax-Ghost]: So how many then?
[Deadpool]: Okay, I have!
[Ajax-Ghost]: Well, then, Wade, what does that REALLY say about you then? Is it that the number got so high you just stopped caring…or is it that you never cared to begin with and that’s why the number got so high?

[Ajax-Ghost]: Yes, that’s what I thought. You’re so far lost you don’t even know the answer.

[Deadpool Narration]: Did I stop caring…or did I never care at all…?

Then we get to Daniel Way’s Wolverine Origins storyline (no, not that Wolverine Origins). Here we see the early renditions of the type of fourth-wall breaking, insanity, and self-hatred that he will further develop in his solo-run of Deadpool.

We get early Pool-o-vision hallucinations:

[Deadpool]: How—? Oh. I, ah…drifted, didn’t I?

We get the proto white-box/yellow-box narrations:

[“white” box]: Dear Diary, I think I might actually be crazy.
[Yellow box]: WHAT?! I’m not crazy!
[Deadpool]: I just have a vivid imagination, is all…

[“White box”]: He probably thinks you’re a complete moron. Face it…no one really has a high opinion of you, Wade.
[Yellow]: I’m a mercenary! No  one’s supposed to have a high opinion of me!
[“White”]: How convenient.
[Yellow]: What? Okay should I, like lie down on the couch for the rest of this, or…?
[Deadpool]: Hey! You guys wanna quiet down up there? In case you’ve forgotten, we’ve got some serious work to…

And beneath that wild and zany humor and craziness, Deadpool is covering for the fact that he really doesn’t like himself:

[Deadpool catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror, looks grimly, until he puts his mask on. With the mask on, he gives himself two thumbs up and a cheery “hey-oh!”]

[Deadpool catches his reflection in the pool water, and stops short. He pulls his mask back down]

More on this coming soon as we tackle the Daniel Way run next!

The Temple of Celestial Harmony.

There is a legend of a monastery deep in the mountains of Nepal wherein dwell an order of monks which never see evil or ugliness.  Their monastery is in a sheltered vale and protected by mountain passes.  The monks come to the monastery as infants and never leave their entire life, everywhere around them is nothing but beauty, serenity and peace.  There is no sickness here. Death, when it comes, usually at an age of around 110 years or more, sometimes a great deal more, is treated as a joyous occasion and there is no mourning. They raise their own crops and make a soothing drink called “tansgoma”. It is said to allow men to dream while waking.  They are said to be capable of shape shifting, often into birds, to travel to the heavenly realm at will and to see long distances while in meditation. They never leave but travelers in the summer of 1922 claimed they have an uncanny knowledge of the outside world including, so the village elders told them, knowledge of the then recent World War in Europe.

The people in the surrounding village are not permitted to enter the sanctuary but trade spices and other goods from a basket which is lowered from the walls at sunrise and again at sunset.  Here, there is no greed, no lust, no envy. All belongs to all. There is no hierarchy all are equal. Marco Polo heard of the Temple and these legends came down to us as the legend of Prester John and the lost city of Shangri-la  Four times in a thousand years enemies, each in their turn, have made their way to the walled monastery. The Mongols, the Rajputs, the Mughals and the Chinese.  Each lured by tales of golden idols, with eyes of ruby each the size of a melon. Each army was devastated, destroyed almost to the man by a raging plague which was borne upon the very air they breathed but which the monks and surrounding villagers are immune.

No Westerner has ever so much as touched the sacred walls of the temple compound. It is told that the great Alexander himself made it to the first pass but turned back when he discovered the bloated and blackened bodies of his advance force.  He went no further east in his conquests, his men threatening to mutiny, these battle hardened veterans had seen something in that valley which frightened them more than all the Armies of the east, and after turning westward back toward Macedon, Alexander was himself dead within the year. Near the opening of this pass lies the broken form of a 1970s era Russian jet fighter. The bodies of its two pilots still rotting in their harness. No effort has ever been made to recover their bodies. The Nepalese Army now guards the pass.  They deny the existence of the temple and will shoot any person regardless of nationality who tries to enter.  In 1992 a Japanese film crew consisting of expert mountaineers with modern gear, including oxygen and satellite communications, attempted to avoid the guarded pass by going over the mountain to the west of the temple. They were “lost” in the mountains no trace having ever been found.

It is said that the monks are waiting for something, but nobody knows why they wait.  Very little has come out of the valley since the 1920s. The mystery only deepens with each passing year.

Book Recs!

So, rememberfili asked me to do a book rec post and so I am and it’ll probably be in a weird order and I’ll try to rec books that I’m not always talking about (i.e. Grisha, The Raven Cycle, Deathless, etc.) 

God’s War (Bel Dame Apocrypha #1) by Kameron Hurley

I literally just finished Infidel, the second book in the trilogy, so this is me taking a moment to beg people to read this trilogy because I’ve scrolled to the bottom of its tag here & it’s empty. It’s about a woman who is—essentially—a mercenary and her band of misfits and the magic system is bio-magic/bug tech and it’s just. so. good. Stories about groups of terrible people forming found families and then betraying each other are my lifeblood. Also I need someone to sob over Nyx and Rhys with me because this is toRTURE. 

The Habitation of the Blessed (A Dirge for Prester John #1) by Catherynne M. Valente

I feel like most of tumblr read Deathless but never bothered to look into Cat Valente’s other works and that is a tragedy. While I will admit that The Habitation of the Blessed took me a bit to get into, the second book The Folded World actually destroyed me. It’s rich and evocative and the series is woven like a series of vignette-like stories based on some pretty obscure medieval mythology. While I’m rec'ing this one, honestly The Folded World was on par with Deathless for me in how utterly ruining it was. Also the series may never be finished so I will always be left in a void state of misery over this trilogy. 

Thief’s Covenant (Widdershins Adventures #1) by Ari Marmell

Everything about this book is utterly, delightfully charming. I think of this book incredibly fondly. I have all three of the books currently out (I’m fairly certain it’s a quartet) but I’ve only read the first. I love this book. Vaguely Renaissance world building with a protagonist who is good at what she does and aware of it (my faves). It has a fantastic pantheon and I love love love the way Ari Marmell wrote side characters. It can get a bit messy because there are a lot of time jumps, it’s not really told linearly & I remember being a little miffed at that, but oh well.  Also the metaphors are an absolute delight and I’m usually not a big fan of metaphors?  

Sekret (Sekret #1) by Lindsay Smith 


Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder

This is one of my favourite trilogies of all time and there is a FOURTH BOOK ABOUT YELENA COMING OUT SOON so now is the time to read about a girl condemned to die who becomes a food taster for the emperor who condemned her to death and also I shelf this one with the evil!boyfriends. Valek isn’t REALLY but BUT but. Also this kind of traditional world building/magic world building is my favourite favourite favourite kind. 

Eyes Like Stars (Théâtre Illuminata #1) by Lisa Mantchev

Honestly, this is one of my favourite YA trilogies of all time and I don’t talk about it nearly enough. Shakespeare and faeries and steampunk and a lot of hair dye. Also don’t talk to me about the love triangle I am DISTRAUGHT STILL. 

Ten (or so) more books that have stayed with me:

1. Spirit, by Gwyneth Jones
2. Nothing Human, by Nancy Kress
3. The Earthsea Quartet, by Ursula Le Guin
4. The Secret Books of Venus, by Tanith Lee (Faces Under Water; Saint Fire; A Bed of Earth; Venus Preserved)
5. Living Next Door to the God of Love, by Justina Robson
6. The Alchemy of Stone, by Ekaterina Sedia
7. The Innamorati, by Midori Snyder
8. Raising the Stones, by Sheri Tepper
9. A Dirge for Prester John, by Catherynne M. Valente (The Folded World; The Habitation of the Blessed)
10. Mechanique, by Genevieve Valentine

Love is hungry and severe. Love is not unselfish or bashful or servile or gentle. Love demands everything. Love is not serene, and it keeps no records. Love sometimes gives up, loses faith, even hope, and it cannot endure everything. Love, sometimes, ends. But its memory lasts forever, and forever it may come again. Love is not a mountain, it is a wheel. No harsher praxis exists in this world.
—  Catherynne M. Valente