First and foremost, every day is cranberry pie day
While students do have robes, the clothes they wear underneath the robes are not uniforms. There is an eclectic mix of tastes, from the very serious horned serpent who wears button-downs and ties every day, to the wampus who has enchanted their graphic t-shirt to move, to the thunderbirds and pukwudgies who mutually exist solely for sweater weather.
Every year on James Steward’s birthday, there is a school-sponsored cranberry pie bake-off. Pukwudgie house nearly always wins. Once, thunderbird won and good lord you would think it was the civil war all over again
There are a lot of local professors, of course, so you get some really thick Boston accents, but there are also professors with southern belle accents who serve iced tea in class, professors with Canadian accents, professors with midwest accents, several Native American professors with smooth, lulling accents, and some Mexican professors who slip into Spanish when they get super excited about their subject. There was a visiting professor from Ireland once, and 96% of female students (and some male students) had major crushes on him.
Wampus house is where you go to get body-crushing, soul-lifting hugs
Horned serpents may be scholars, but they are also some of the keenest observers. They watch the whole school from afar and quietly play matchmaker to all of their friends. No one suspects them because - what, horned serpent? No. They don’t know about emotions. Meanwhile, the house president makes a killing on the bet she made to predict the homecoming king/queen.
Thanksgiving at Ilvermorny is a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed. It’s almost bigger than Christmas. The thanksgiving feasts at Ilvermorny put Hogwarts to shame. Turkey, ham, real cranberry sauce, pies - oh my god so many pies. They’ve got cider, and tea, and cocoa like you wouldn’t believe. There are New English dishes and Southern dishes and Native dishes and Mexican dishes and Canadian dishes and West Coast dishes - essentially it’s a gigantic continental potluck, and it goes on all day long. Also, their pumpkin juice tastes 1000 times better.
While things like dueling and fighting with wands may be frowned upon at Hogwarts, at Ilvermorny it’s kind of just assumed that stuff happens, and the profs are very chill about it. “Just don’t kill each other okay” “just take it outside” “no casting destruction spells indoors” “bring some band-aids with you” “if you break your nose don’t bleed on your homework”
Pukwudgies are a pretty agreeable house over all, if not a bit salty and surly around the edges, they’ll still help you with your homework and bring you soup when you’ve got a cold. But all bets are off when they step onto the lacrosse field. Maybe its a pride thing, but pukwudgies are frikkin animals when playing lacrosse.
Wampus beats pukwudgie at lacrosse fairly often. They don’t actually practice that much, they just kind of win.
This fact has fueled a sports rivalry - friendly in wampus’ eyes, bloodthirsty in pukwudgie’s eyes.
At wampus/pukwudgie games, horned serpents sell special blends of popcorn. Thunderbirds purchase, hoard, and eat 89% of this popcorn.
Horned serpents and pukwudgies often, though not always, end up having an unspoken rivalry in potions class.
Contrary to popular belief, wampus is not full of athletic jocks. However, they are the most body-positive of all of the schools, and, somewhat ironically to the stereotype, will never judge anyone for their athletic ability. They want everyone to be able to enjoy athleticism and bravery and adventure in the ways they are most able and gifted.
That being said, they do have the kind of student body who, if called upon, could become a minute militia.
When there is a freak hurricane or tornado headed headed for the school, it will be a wampus student who is patrolling the halls and telling students where to go for safety. If there is a bully in school, you had better bet your bottom dollar that s/he will be beaten to a pulp by the next day, and it will be a wampus student sporting mysteriously bloody knuckles.
Pukwudgies are the ones who patch up the bully; they might accidentally wind the bandages a little too tight.
Thunderbirds love a good game of hide-and-seek. They have a tradition of, every halloween, playing hide-and-seek in the dark in the woods.
Horned serpents are the students least often caught for sneaking in contraband into school. Caught being the key word. Most students learn at some point in their education that if you want a nice stiff drink, you go to horned serpent. During secret designated holidays, horned serpent common room turns into a speakeasy.
Unexpectedly, it is pukwudgies who carry the most weapons and dangerous materials on their person at any given time. If a group of Ilvermorny students were going through a security check, it would be the pukwudgies held at the line while they emptied their pockets (bigger on the inside, of course) of various poisons and weapons. When asked, they would just shrug and say “just in case”.
The town around Ilvermorny is home to several franchised chain restaurants that, although they are no-maj brands, have been taken over by Ilvermorny alumni and thus serve predominantly wizarding patrons. Cups levitate to customers in the Starbucks, there are magic-only options on the menu; the chik-fil-a floor sweeps itself; at dominos the pizzas assemble themselves while the one clerk waits, bored, at the register. There are in-house cues for magic patrons whenever a no-maj walks in. The clerk rings a bell or taps loudly on the counter, or yells out an order than is actually a code word for stop doing magic stuff. It’s like red light green light.
There are some old service tunnels beneath the school left over from WWII and the Cold War. They’re like a labyrinth, and Thunderbird has a monopoly on the maps to the tunnels. Some of the more obscure tunnels have large rooms that are perfect for parties and impromptu speakeasies (lookin at you, horned serpent). Thunderbirds will rent out these rooms to fellow students at a fair and competitive rate.
Unlike hogwarts, Ilvermorny students are more apt to use modern technology. Electrics can be weird around witches and wizards, but they still enjoy a lot of no-maj programming. They use computers instead of quills (but still have to print off their essays, ugh,) and listen to music, and watch TV.
Star Trek has long been a school cult favorite. Pukwudgies have adopted Bones as their pop culture mascot; Kirk is Thunderbird’s, Spock, horned serpent. Wampus vacillates on which of these three they like most, though it must be said, when they start watching Next Gen, many wampus students find themselves enamored with Worf,
There has only been one no-maj to ever make it past the magic shields of Ilvermorny unaided. This instance was in 1985. His name was Chad, who at the time was 1) stoned out of his mind and 2) delivering chinese takeout to a horned serpent pulling an all-nighter. School admin found out later, and there was hell to pay. They never did track down Chad to wipe his memory.
Pukwudgie house does have more than its fair share of healers, so they are definitely the ones to go to for cold remedies, home made soup, the best cures for menstrual cramps, and really good back rubs.
However, they are also the ones to go to for less medical remedies: the best hot cocoa, the most gourmet teas, and home made food.
Each house has a class president who is elected for a two-year term (unless they’re a final year student, in which case they will serve one before being taken over by their VP). They have some influence within their houses, but never as much as they’d like. For instance, the thunderbird president once attempted to institute mid-day dancing parties, but school admin said no.
Pukwudgies are usually not super athletic, but are often very good at things like darts, archery, and waterbaloon fights.
Wampus takes ultimate frisbee very, very seriously.
Thunderbird hosts an ongoing scavenger hunt throughout the semester.
The women of horned serpent blow off steam and the stuffy acadmic pressures of their house by making pillow forts and watching rom coms with each other.
Back in the eighties some wizard created a magic version of D&D, and it has become a weekend favorite of many students across all of the houses.
After graduation, instead of having a class ring, it has become tradition for Ilvermorny students to make a pendant out of their golden cloak buttons.
Ilvermorny may be separated by inter-house squabbles much like at Hogwarts, but at the end of the day, they all leave school wearing the same blue and cranberry robes, sporting the same skill with a wand, raised to the same scrappy, witty, mod-podge tenacity that American witches and wizards embody so well.
First Impressions Gone Bad (Serpent!Jughead x Serpent!Reader Request)
Serpent!Reader. He’s still with Betty and he takes Y/N to Pop’s Diner to meet
his friends and her Betty starts arguing and instead of fighting Y/N gets up to
leave but Betty wants to get the last word in and says something terrible about
the gang so both Y/N and Jughead leave and get together?’- @andywicked
x Serpent!Reader, Betty x Jughead, Archie x Veronica
Warnings: Dark/Mean Betty (although I’m tempted to write what happens in Pop’s after they leave to show where she was coming from), kissing.
Word Count: 1883
Notes:This was great practice for my upcoming fiction The Serpent or Me so thank you for such a fab request! I had a lot of fun with it.
‘Do you really think this is a good idea Jug?’ I’d never
felt so out of place. I peered into the window of Pop’s Diner, it was straight
out of the 50s. Not a place I’d expect Jughead to frequent. My leather jacket
stuck out like a sore thumb as Jughead practically dragged me in. An old man
behind the counter, the famous Pop I presumed, greeted Jughead instantly.
‘Usual order Jughead?’
‘Make it for two tonight Pop.’ He nodded back to me, I gave
a little wave. He didn’t seem phased by our Southside appearance unlike the
rest of the diner. I could feel daggers on me from every angle as we walked
over to a booth. Jughead acted coolly, barely taking in all the passing
glances. I drummed on the table anxiously.
‘Y/n, you need to calm down.’ He said, grabbing my hands to
set them still on the table.
‘Sorry but I can already hear everyone gossiping in here, who’s
to say your friends aren’t gonna do the same?’ I had to be honest with Jug, he
was a serpent now and there were no secrets between the serpents. Well maybe
‘They’re different, they know I’m a serpent now and they
know why I chose this path. If they have a problem, they’ve definitely kept it
to themselves. They know the serpents are the only family I’ve got now.’ I
twitched at the word ‘family’. You weren’t meant to have romantic feelings for
The bell of the door rang and in walked Jughead’s other
gang. A broad shouldered redhead came first, he wore a blazing letterman jacket
and had his arm around a black haired girl, her dress looked expensive and she
was even wearing heels. That would be Archie and Veronica, Riverdale’s latest sweethearts,
I remembered Jughead mention. Behind them, came the beautiful blonde. Her hair
was in her signature high ponytail, her face beaming as she got closer to us.
She wore a white summer dress and a pastel yellow cardigan on top. While that
outfit would usually make me gag, she made it look flawless. If this is what I
was up against, I was screwed.
I’m back lovelies!!!! Okay not entirely, I’m still not taking requests but SS&BH is back and I’ll be writing and posting when I can again. Honestly, the amount of continued love and support despite my hiatus has been incredible and I adore you all so fucking much. So, I hope you enjoy…
“And she sings, our little firecracker friend can sing!” FP announced, provoking a roar from the Serpents that were piled into the bar amidst could of smoke and the unending sound of glasses being clinked. You giggled in response, pretending to be coy after being caught singing along to the distant drawl of a song that was playing from a crackly radio somewhere. As the only girl in the establishment and the only non-serpent, all eyes were fixed on your small figure after FP’s announcement. A chorus of “Sing for us Doll!” and “Awh come on, give us a song” erupted from the patrons surrounding you and you pretended to ponder the idea before laughing in agreement. You beckoned over the nearest Serpent and asked him to help you up onto the pool table; the game that was taking place on which having ceased when everyone’s attention had turned to you.
After struggling to mount said pool table in your heels, you finally stood, using it as a makeshift stage and allowing everyone in the bar a view of you. Heavy-handed cheers and narrow-eyes leers came from the men around you and they eventually died down as they eagerly awaited your impending performance. Leaning down you cheekily took a cigarette from between the fingers of a particularly burly, bearded biker and took a lazy drag before returning it to the man and clearing your throat dramatically.
“I would like to dedicate this performance to all of you lovely serpents here today! You may have a bad rep’ around here but tonight you saved me from a night of tears and tantrums and for that, I can’t thank you enough. Oh, and I can’t forget, a super special thanks to Mr. FP for scaring away my ride, I wouldn’t be where I am without ya,” you said with a mixture of sincerity and sarcasm which earned you a plethora of gruff chuckles from your new-found audience and a toast in your name after which you began to sing.
Call all the ladies out
They’re in their finery
A hundred jewels on throats
A hundred jewels between teeth
Now bring my boys in
Their skin in craters like the moon
The moon we love like a brother, while he glows through the room
The entire bar was silent as they listened to you, awestruck and wide-eyed. At the mention of boys, you beckoned the men in the bar with your hands and they let out yet another chorus of amused cheers to which you grinned at them in response.
Dancin’ around the lies we tell
Dancin’ around big eyes as well
Even the comatose they don’t dance and tell
We live in cities you’ll never see on screen
Not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things
Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams
And you know, we’re on each other’s team
As you belted out the chorus the entire bar was filled with praise as the serpents gawked and gushed over your apparent talent.
I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air, so there
So all the cups got broke shards beneath our feet but it wasn’t my fault
And everyone’s competing for a love they won’t receive
‘Cause what this palace wants is release
You threw your hands up and rolled your eyes to punctuate the lyrics you were singing and some of the men around you let out enthusiastic ‘yeahs’ and ‘whoop whoops’.
We live in cities you’ll never see on screen
Not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things
Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams
And you know, we’re on each other’s team
Two of the serpents helped lift you off of the pool table and onto the neighbouring bar so that you could prance along it as they encouraged you to kick any whiskey-filled glasses or beer bottles off of the bar-top and onto the floor, smashing them violently against the ground so that they broke into glistening shards and the remaining liquid inside seeped out like blood from a wound.
I’m kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air
I’m kinda older than I was when I rebelled without a care
We live in cities you’ll never see on screen
Not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things
Living in ruins of a palace within my dreams
And you know, we’re on each other’s team
We’re on each other’s team
And you know, we’re on each other’s team
We’re on each other’s team
And you know, and you know, and you know
As you finished the song every patron in the bar barrelled towards you. For a second you panicked a little, fearing that they were pouncing on you in an impromptu attack however instead you were pulled from your position on the bar and into the strong arms of the onslaught of gang members as they showered you with bear hugs and compliments. You couldn’t help but laugh at yourself at your momentary misjudgment and hug them all back just as furiously.
The sound of the door slamming open hit the atmosphere like a bullet to the head and immediately the atmosphere was pierced by the presence of none other than Jughead Pendleton Jones the Third as he stood in the dim light above the doorway with his jaw clenched and a leather jacket - that you had never seen before - slung over his lean frame. His silver eyes flitted from you to the Biker gang currently embracing you and then to FP who simply grinned at him, seemingly not picking up on his utterly unimpressed exterior.
“Jug, my boy, you just missed out on this little firecracker’s singing debut,” FP drawled, approaching Jughead, slinging an arm around his shoulders and clapping him on the back enthusiastically. Jughead just scowled in response and glared at you as you shot him a sickly sweet and sarcastic smile.
“What is she doing here, Dad?” Jughead demanded, his creamy skin flushing and his fists clenching as he motioned towards you with a nod of his beanie-clad head.
“Dad?” you repeated as your eyes widened in both surprise at the previous revelation and Jughead’s current demeanor. Jughead turned to face FP, thus turning his back to you and revealing the logo that was emblazoned upon the rear of his leather jacket.
He turned back to you, a flicker of what you read as shame lingering behind his dark lashes. “I didn’t want you to find out like this, (Y/N)… I didn’t want you to find out at all…”
The Serpents are totally gonna be the biggest Bughead shippers
Honestly, how can anyone think that the Serpents would get in between/force apart Bughead?
Like, helloo??? The son of FP Jones and the daughter of Alice Cooper, two extremely hot senior serpents, getting it on. Serpent babies making more serpent babies, what more could you ask for? How can they not ship that?!
Not to mention, it’ll be a symbolic FUCK YOU to Riverdale’s “upper” society if their resident Golden Girl turns out to be a secret serpent daughter whose currently bumping uglies with the Riverdale HERO you just ostracized???!!!
Summary: Jughead reflects on why the road trip with Archie meant so much to him; and when his deep, dark secret is exposed, he doesn’t know what to do.
Frankly, Jughead knew, deep inside him somewhere (even though it was probably buried so deep, it would have to be excavated), that Archie didn’t mean it. The redhead didn’t mean to leave his best friend waiting for three hours at the spot they’d meant to have met, instead opting to text him with five words- “Sorry Jug, can’t make it.”
To others, it seemed like such a small thing to stop talking about- one cancelled road trip, but to Jughead, it was going to mark a pivotal moment.
The moment when he’d tell his best friend, the one he can trust with everything, that no, Jughead currently didn’t have a home- only an excuse of one. He’d been debating whether to tell Archie, let alone his friends, for weeks, but had only now decided to accept that his living situation was just shitty and he needed help.
But of course, Archie didn’t show up, which just reiterated the doubt that had always lingered at the back of Jughead’s mind- what Archie was to him, he wasn’t to Archie.
What was so incredibly frustrating was that now, Jughead couldn’t tell anyone else. Even if he’d wanted to, when Archie drifted away, so did Betty, who was devoted to him. Who did he have to turn to now?
As he sat in the lunchroom if Riverdale High, blasting ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ through his earphones, his shoulders slumped.
Maybe he was talking to Archie, and consequently Betty, now, their friendship wasn’t what it used to be before.
And when Jughead found out later that Archie ditched their road trip so that he could ‘do the do’ with that pedophilic teacher on July 4th, Jughead couldn’t help but feel resentment boil inside him.
This is what their years spent hanging together in treehouses and sneaking behind their parent’s backs meant to him?
Therefore, Jughead couldn’t bring himself to admit that now, with the drive-on closing, he really might have no one to turn to.
Ignoring the strange sensation in his chest-sadness, if he wasn’t mistaken, he increased the volume of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, tuning out the din of the lunchroom, choosing instead, to focus on the titillating harmonies as his fingers tapped on his keyboard.
There were times, times like these, when Jughead truly hated Cheryl Blossom. No, despised her, and what she embodied- the rich bitch who could definitely not be trusted.
Yes, bad things had happened to her. Yes, her twin brother had been murdered. Yes, the murderer was still, in all likeliness, galavanting around Riverdale, and yes, all she could do was wait.
That still gave her no excuse to do what she was currently doing.
Phone in hand, evidence of what she was letting the rest of the biology class know -he didn’t know how Prof. Phylum could deal with her at all- that Jughead was hiding a deep, dark secret.
“We have a Serpent in our midst.” She said, turning around and shoving her phone in Jughead’s face. There it was. A picture of Jughead and his dad talking, that terrible day when he’d moved out of the driveway and into his father’s despicable house.
“And if those of you haven’t realised from this picture, it’s Jughead Jones, Riverdale’s resident writer.” With a smirk, Cheryl flipped her hair to one side and sat down.
Jughead put his head in his hands. If Betty, Veronica, and Archie weren’t there, then Jughead’s wouldn’t really have cared.
But they were, they were there, currently looking at Jughead with betrayal, hurt and disbelief on their faces.
Jughead put his head in his hands.
“Alright, class, enough.” Phylum said, only after regarding Jughead with disdain. “Back to dissection. The stomach…”
Jughead tuned out. What was once comfortable silence turned unconformable. He was ashamed, yes, and would give up nearly anything on the Earth’s surface not to be affiliated with his father, but right now, what choice did he have? His secret was out in the open, and there was nowhere for Jughead to run.
The Serpents… So what if the school found out? It was his friends that he was worried about.
He dared not to turn around and look at Archie’s expression, or Betty’s. He didn’t even bother thinking about Cheryl’s satisfied smirk.
Shit. They were going to find out that he had been homeless soon enough. They were going to raise questions about Jellybean, his mom, his entire life…. They were going to realise why’d he’d been so worked up about the Drive In shutting down.
Jughead was an outsider. Even though he pretended to be fine with it, he wasn’t.
After the pep rally, when he’d made up with Archie, he’d experienced a taste of something he’d been longing for- contentment.
Being homeless- those months were encompassed with loneliness- but hanging out with the gang at Pop’s- that was his ambrosia.
Now it was probably all gone.
When the bell rung, he didn’t bother waiting for his friends and made his way straight to the door, not making eye contact with anyone. Until Cheryl stood in front of him- hands on her hips, her ruby red lips angled upwards.
Neither said anything, but Jughead looked up and gave her the fiercest, deepest and most hatred-filled glare he could muster, gaining some satisfaction when the cheerleader shrunk back ever so slightly.
Ignoring her, he walked out the door into the hallway, paying no heed to the calls of Betty, Archie and Veronica.
It was like those cliché high school scenes- everyone turning towards him, whispers of serpents and secrets exchanged between them, hasty glares.
Honestly, he didn’t know what he was trying to achieve, running away from the blonde, redhead and brunette chasing after him. They were going to corner him eventually. When he realised this, he abruptly turned.
They almost crashed into him, taken aback. Betty looked at him. “Let’s take this somewhere else.”
She turned around, and Jughead followed.
“Juggie, what’s going on?” Betty asked, taking Jughead by surprise when he saw concern on her face.
“We want to hear it from you, not Cheryl.” Archie added.
All four of them sat at Pop’s, Biology having been the last period that day, and they’d conveniently forced Jughead into a corner booth, so he couldn’t boot.
Jughead sighed. What’s there to lose?
And so, he poured his heart out. He told them how his father had joined the notorious gang earlier that year, and how his mother had left a week later, unable to resolve her conflict with his dad, taking his dear Jellybean with her.
He talked about how he’d wanted nothing to do with his dad, even though he had no other choice. He spoke about the things he’d seen from his limited proximity to the gang- theft, assault, looting, pillaging, and that was just what he knew.
He told them how he’d stayed on his dad’s side at first, after being led to believe that this was the only option to get them out of the debt their parents were falling into. When Fred Andrews fired his dad, Jughead had naively believed that his dad could do only good.
His hatred began when he’d overheard the Serpents talking- and found out that his father had been feeding him pure lies.
So then, he’d moved out. He had discovered the Drive In- perfect for a temporary shelter. He’d even got a job there, which made it all the more suitable.
At some point, his father had come there and tried to reconcile- and Jughead had accepted. Now, whenever they encountered each other, Jughead tried to forget all the terrible things his father had done.
Jughead spoke about how devastated he’d been when the Drive In shut down. He’d said that it was almost his home- if only they’d known how literal he had been.
Those Twilight months were the lonely ones, he said, without even the company of his little sister to help pacify him. Now all contact he had to Jellybean was through a payphone near Twilight.
After Twilight shut down, Jughead had tried to find accommodation somewhere, but to no avail. Last week, he’d moved back into his father’s hovel, trying to spend as less time there are possible. His father tended to get drunk late in the night, and though nothing had been inflicted upon Jughead yet, he was not eager to stay.
But right now, he wasn’t spoilt for choices.
He ended his explanation with an “I’m sorry.” And waited.
Betty, sitting near him, looked at him, tears in her eyes and just hugged him.
Veronica, sitting across from him, grabbed his hand, and Archie said, “Jughead…”
Honestly, Jughead expected them to be angry.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Betty asked, hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t know. You guys were busy…”
“Bullshit.” Betty’s eyes narrowed. “Jughead, you’ve been through so much already, and you clearly needed help. We would’ve done everything we could! Right, Arch?”
Archie looked slightly guilty at failing to notice what his best friend had been going through all these months. “Definitely.” He said, and leaned forward. “Jughead, if you need a place to stay…”
Months of tension had finally been released, relief coursing through Jughead’s veins. A tear trickled down his smiling face, only encouraging Betty’s tears to fall and Archie’s eyes to water. Veronica massaged Jughead’s hand.
“Yes.” Jughead accepted. Yes, his family was still torn apart, and yes, his father still engaged in abominable activities in a very violent gang, but right now, Jughead could rest.
Hogwarts Secrets (Known only to Ravenclaw Students)
They created an enchanted map that follows Peeves and tracks which doors are being stubborn that day and hung it on the wall in the common room so you can take the fastest route to
classes without having to wait
There’s a dumbwaiter connecting the common
room to the kitchens so they don’t have to make the long trek to the kitchens.
If you send down an empty basket (and a note saying pretty please) it’ll come
If you talk to the portraits, they’ll help you
with homework. Some of them “live” in the time periods associated with History
of Magic eras and are way less boring than Binns. Plus, they’ve been there for
so long, they’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge from other students
~You’re from the other side of the tracks, so, a lot of people from your side look down on you in disgust once they found out about your once kept secret romance with a Serpent. But you’re very happy and couldn’t be bothered to care what others think about you and your boyfriend.
~ Date nights at the White Wyrm ~ Beating your boyfriend every time at Pool and leaving rich.
~Lots of PDA, neither of you really caring who sees. ~ Everyone that sees just cheering you on, and whistling.
~ Everyone on the Southside is really supportive of your relationship.
~ Lots of sex.
~ Eventually deciding to get a place on the Southside since you really aren’t welcome on the other side of the tracks anymore. ~ Your boyfriend offering to take you in so you don’t have to worry about buying/renting your own place.
~ Chilling with all the other Serpents. ~ Your boyfriend getting jealous.
A/N: This was fun. I hope this is what you wanted. :)
Never the Muse is absent from their ways: lyres clash and flutes cry and everywhere maiden choruses whirling. Neither disease nor bitter old age is mixed in their sacred blood; far from labour and battle they live. – Pindar, Tenth Pythian Ode; translated by Richmond Lattimore.
There is a land lost to history, slipping between the cracks and into the depths of mind’s dark seas. An island citadel surrounded by roaring waves and girded by sea-serpents; an Otherland of dark forests and hoary stones raised for mysterious purposes. Ancient kings and mad wizards rub shoulders with outlaws who live like wolves, and horned warriors dance amidst rumbling storms as ancient long-barrows glow with weird and eldritch light.
Old gods linger at the crossing places and wild hunts careen howling across skies, all made of smoke and fury, while wise women stir cauldrons and fey folk emerge from hiding to play amidst the green. Mighty armies clash in battle, blood staining the hungry soil – earth now black with age and power as dragons coil about the hills and turn lazily in sleep, half closed-eyes burning with the light of the noonday sun.
Bottomless lakes and rushing rivers open their mouths to welcome wave after wave of newcomers, swallowing them up and softening their bones with moss and leaf-mould, nourishing ancient trees long gnarled with age. Deep holes are filled with metal blood and shining veins, their darkness anything but silent as subterranean spirits whistle and knock in the caverns of the deep below.
On the fringes of the world, at the edge of all things it lies – all unyielding. From the isle’s heart bubbles up a freezing draught so fierce in its bite that it stops the breath, and sends one down amongst the dead to learn their tales and their songs.
To some a sangraal, to others a cauldron and many more things besides, here and now we give it a name thick with meaning:
From this seed, this thing of root and branch comes a cold conception; a birthing nourished through the ages and aeons before language. Fetched forth from deep chthonic spaces, emerging through the labyrinthine pathways of the mind as a primeval force only discernible by obliqueness, by poetry, song and story.
It is a cold thing precisely because it can only be seen by absence; as temperature is measured in terms of heat, so coldness is only shown by its relation to heat. Yet anyone who has ever felt the cold knows that it is a thing in and of itself, alive and with its own agenda.
So it is with COLD ALBION, a kind of silent monolith amidst roaring seas of dream. It lives and breathes, populated with those things half-seen out of the corner of the eye, irrational and wild. If it has a language, then that speech is black and made of the tongues of birds, the whisper of the wind in the trees, the rushing of rivers and the howls and hoots of beasts. The slow creaking of mountains and the roar of waves against jagged rock is its tone of voice. Its secret names are written in the curtains of rain and iron-grey skies, in the damp green of leaf and thorns hungry for blood; the granite thrust up to break the surface in times long gone is abruptly revealed – born from the broken skin of sleeping giants.
From that wellspring come the weird words; the freezing waters which excite and chill – sending shivers up the spine, shocking us from the everyday. If the primeval tongue be unspoken and occult – hidden from normal eyes – then what are we left with except for the words which reveal it, and in some way become suffused with it?
Ordinary language becomes dismembered and rendered extra-ordinary – the evocative power of the sorcerer-poet in every word; the deep reflexes hidden inside humanity stimulated by a word or phrase. Stories, narratives, all born of those deep places from before ‘human’ existed.
COLD ALBION is indescribable and indirect. Its shape and borders are inviolate because they are incomprehensibly vast and small enough to be encountered through two words. Additionally, it is capable of sustaining myriad interpretations, and this means that it generates those interpretations on contact!
Its kiss against your mind is almost imperceptible, the seeds nestling there, passing all unremarked. Each movement engenders more, until their absence is keenly, terribly felt. Because of this, because of the fact that a hunger has awakened, is it it any wonder that you greedily accept it deeper into yourselves, as it alternately soothes and excites the craving?
Each mind that touches it may find itself co-opted, colonized and reawakened to the strange vitality which rests sleeping beneath the human world.
HERE BE DRAGONS
COLD ALBION is the land of the witch, the warlock, the werewolf and the giant. These were never human, always and ever something else. It is a land of “Once Upon A Time.” A land which exists in parallel to the human, and must do so because any other alternative is unthinkable, because otherwise it, and more importantly Them are already here and always have been.
To suggest such things exist amidst the world of humanity is heresy, almost an attack on reality itself. So such things exist in an ‘unreal’ otherworldly place, because they are themselves otherworldly, their existence becoming mythologized to the point that it is impossible for them to exist within the world of mankind.
But for those of us who draw draw strength and inspiration from such things, and have noticed that strangeness goes hand in hand with the impossible, we experience a fierce joy and exultation. Soaring as eagles, with shining heads and gleaming feathers, we burrow into secret places, wiser than serpents and nine times more venomous than wyrms.
Let us be clear as crystal, and twice as cold:
COLD ALBION is not within the lands of humankind. It is unbound and uncompromising, beyond any map or territory. Its vitality is incomparable and peerless, and those that feast upon its flesh and drink its mead are forever changed into things made hoary with newness.
To all but a few they appear inhuman and insatiable, inexorable and severe in focus. Are you aware, do you recall those times when some instinct screamed from a million years ago? When some familiar thing in life became strange and the unease that wrought upon you then, and now – as you realize slowly that you comprehend the implications of these words.
Or as it seizes you suddenly in daily life, when next you look in a mirror or taste the bitter tang, you are drawn back to the moment of understanding. It comes like a lightning flash, spoken in the voice behind the blackest of thunder as the wind howls and the rain lashes down, as the sun beats on your flesh or the cold begins to creep inside your bones and chill your skin.
When the unaccountable dread arises from nowhere, you can allow yourself the last comfort, a final hope that exists only for a moment, before being swept away by a raging torrent bursting up from realms before language and thought were ever born:
To really get what I’m about to say, you need to understand. I goddamn love Levistus. He was the first Archdevil I used and understood as a character. I use him whenever possible.
Lately, I’ve been having to find reasons to keep him in my campaign.
Not that it’s his fault or that I find him any less interesting. Remember how I said @wesschneider reinvented Mephistopheles for me? He did the same thing to Geryon.
Pathfinder’s Geryon is one of those awesome, memorable NPCs that just sticks with you. Based on the image above, you may think Geryon is a triple-bodied humanoid with three snake tails. In actuality, Geryon is a triple-bodied snake that can vomit forth the torsos of anyone it has consumed. That’s just metal in all of the right ways for a Lord amongst devils. Add on to the fact that Geryon is actually an asura rana that Asmodeus somehow convinced into betraying the other ranas, along with kyton demagogues and gigas warlords?
Best. Archfiend. Ever. (And you know I love me some archfiends)
So how do we resolve the continuity snarl that is the Reckoning of Baator while still keeping Geryon an Archfiend and a relevant NPC? What I have done is create a new Archfiend position: Hell’s Traitor. This archfiend acts as a foil for all of the others and plots against Asmodeus openly. Sometimes, I stick with Planescape’s cannon and say Geryon got demoted to Hell’s Traitor after the Reckoning. Other times, Geryon emerges unscathed, and Levistus is Hell’s Traitor (and let’s be honest, he basically is already). If I want to get really tricky, I have Geryon and Asmodeus pull a long con on everyone to convince them that Geryon is out of favour when he’s really the real ruler of Styigia. Fun times with the Source of Lies.
Geryon is surprisingly popular amongst the Dustmen. The Sources of Lies has one central aphorism, “you are the lie.” Dustmen take this to heart and try to understand all the ways that lies bind the soul to the world of False Death. That doesn’t necessarily make them more truthful, but they certainly are reflective and deliberate in their actions.
History is nothing but a set of lies we agree upon. While the truth may be the goal of historians, all scholars of the past must make inferences that are based on their own biases and preconceptions, which introduce misconceptions and falsehoods into the historical record. The Blasphemers of the Pasts are a group of Guvners who worship Geryon and make it their business to study these unintentional lies so as to ferret out the secrets of the unwitting liers.
The relationship between Geryon and Abraxas is one of the few strong ties across the Abyss and Baator. Both Fiendish Lords are masters of secret knowledge and serpents who have a very loose relationship with the truth. Surprisingly, they carry little more of a grudge than a friendly personal rivalry with each other. That friendliness does not automatically extend to their priests, but the celestial planes find it very concerning none the less.
Note: I decided a while back not to do any archfiends until Book of the Damned comes out, barring something major happening. Well, something happened.
Wes announced today that he is leaving Paizo to move on to his next step in life. It’s a really bittersweet moment. I’m happy because Wes is excited about this change, but he has written some of the most awesome things at Paizo. His contributions to the game over the last decade will be sorely missed. I think my favourite day writing this blog was the day that I saw Wes was following me and I absolutely freaked out because I thought my writing was nowhere near good enough to warrant Paizo’s Editor-in-Chief enjoying it.
Wes, thank you for everything you’ve done. You are a wonderful human being and an inspiration to us all, both for the stories we tell and the radical kindness and understanding you show in your day to day life. I wish you all the best and I dearly hope that one day I get to work with you to make our little corner of the world a bit more awesome.
Yes its because he rejected Betty, not because he kissed Veronica almost after it, he knew it would hurt her yet did anyway (same with Veronica), always respectful of other people's feelings sure. Implies he will fight Jughead if he dares to speak about his thing with Grundy, and 'Did you know Jughead's father is a serpent?' So kind and selfless from his part, yet nobody cares 5 minutes later. Archie gets his deserved hate because he can do and say whatever he wants without any consequences.
You’re right, anon. How was I so blind before? You’ve convinced me. Archie is the devil incarnate.
Lol, no. Sike.
Let’s break this down:
1) “not because he kissed Veronica almost after it, he knew it would hurt her yet did it anyway (same with Veronica).”
I actually love when people still hold this against him. Firstly, he /rejected/ Betty. Should he pledge himself to chastity until Betty gets over the rejection? It just seems silly to me, not to mention immature. And secondly, Betty didn’t KNOW they kissed. She ran off before they left the closet. It’s a weird schrodinger’s cat thing. She chose to run off. And it’s not like Veronica and Archie were on top of each other the very moment that door closed. Both of them were visuallyreluctant to enter that closet in the first place. What prompted Betty to run off? Who knows. But the fact still stands: she was the one who decided to run off because she was still hurting from the rejection, proving it was the rejection that hurt the most and not the fact that Veronica and Archie kissed.
What did he do quickly after? Went to her house to check if she was okay. Apologized. He did the same thing the next day when she was crying. So yes, he is very respectful of other people’s feelings. It was a shitty situation and feelings were going to get hurt, inevitable, but he tried to make things better.
2) “Implies he will fight Jughead if he dares to speak about his thing with Grundy, and ‘Did you know Jughead’s father is a serpent?”
Awesome. Let’s vilify the victim, cool. Archie was MANIPULATED by a FIGURE OF POWER (aka, a teacher, aka GRUNDY) and was led to believe that if people find out about them, THEY WERE GOING TO BE IN TROUBLE. Not just her, but him as well. He was being MANIPULATED. Grundy was installing FEAR in Archie so he would do as she pleases, and that includes keeping their “thing” a secret. So him /implying/ he will fight Jughead is just a result of that manipulation.
Second point: Archie and Jughead have been friends since childhood. Archie went to the Whyte Wyrm to find answers as to who is messing with his father’s business. Fred is presumably in a shit-load of debt, nearly going bankrupted, won’t be able to pay his workers soon because he’s running out of money. That’s the position Archie is coming from. He told Jughead that he is going to go to the Whyte Wyrm, he told him he was going to confront the Serpents. Jughead knew this, and kept the fact that FP was a serpent A SECRET. Archie’s best friend since childhood withheld information from him that could have possibly helped him figure out who attacked Moose and who attacked his father’s business, that is going bankrupted soon. As simple as that. Archie felt betrayed. Not to mention, I don’t think FP being a serpent even was a secret to the town to begin with. Archie just told Betty and Veronica. And the fact that Jughead and Archie made up later that day, and Archie told Jughead that they are brothers so ….. i don’t understand how that makes him the devil incarnate and how this is still a big deal if Jughead and Archie already made up. Not to mention Jughead kept a secret from Archie even after Archie opened his home for him, but that’s none of my business.
3) “Archie gets his deserved hate because he can do and say whatever he wants without any consequences.”
He was crying in Fred’s truck at the end of episode 4 because he truly believed what Alice Cooper says about him, that he is stupid and he is selfish and he’s a bad person, so much so that Fred had to reassure him that he wasn’t those things. Archie’s self-worth and self-esteem is literally at the floor, and yet he still always tries to do what is best. He tries to protect his family and his friends, so i’m not exactly sure when has he ever ‘done or said whatever he wants without consequences’.
4) I think it’s SUPER important to note that anon’s examples as to why Archie is such a bad person are all examples that relates back to Betty and Jughead. Yep. If you touch even a piece of hair of Betty and Jughead’s head, you are automatically the devil incarnate, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Doesn’t matter what the motivation was. You are trying to protect your father’s business, the business he spent his entire life trying to build just to give you a decent life? Cool story bro, but who cares. It’s all about Betty and Jughead in these parts of town.
“So kind and selfless from his part, yet nobody cares 5 minutes later.“
No one cares because the fandom is literally the Betty and Jughead show. The fandometrics show exactly that. The fact that anon’s reasons why he’s awful relates back to Betty and Jughead shows exactly that, as well.
And as the usual added disclaimer: I do not hate Betty and Jughead. I think every character’s actions are motivated and justified. I think the dialogue makes sense, I think their actions make sense. I think the conflict between the teens also makes sense. I don’t hate anyone in this show.