Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Snarky Narnia: Approaching Tashbaan

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[Underlined portions are directly from the canonical text.]

Shasta: This geography makes no sense to me.

Aravis: Why? We started at the sea, went in the direction of the capital that none of us wanted to go to but all roads lead through Rome and Yada Yada Yada, climbed an immense plateau without any of us bothering to make note of it, "at every halt [we] argued and argued" and this was accompanied by me being slightly more nice to you because "one usually gets on better with people when one is arguing and arguing making plans than--"

Shasta: How did you just do a strikethrough in spoken word?

Aravis: Racist genetic talent, for in my land story-telling is a big deal.

Shasta: I live in your land and no one taught me.

Aravis: Storytelling: big deal. Consistency: not so much.

Shasta: So... bad storytelling.

Aravis: When the author is C.S. Lewis, yes.

Shasta: OK, but still, geography.

Aravis: As I was saying, By the time Hwin came up with her plan we'd reached The Great Valley--

Bella: Hey, Littlefoot.

Littlefoot: Hi, time traveler.

Aravis: Do you mind?

Bella, Littlefoot: Sorry.

Aravis: The great valley splitting the plateau, which can only be crossed at the road through Tashbaan. That is why we are now looking down on the city through the valley mists. Once we pass through Tashbaan we'll climb the other side of the valley and be on the seemingly endless desert end of the plateau. Understand the geography now?

Shasta: Um... sure.

Bree: Get on, Shasta

Shasta: Now about this architecture.

Aravis: Pinnacles and spires and a great precious metal plated dome, what's not to Islam?

Shasta: Well you are polytheists.

Bree: Get on, Shasta.

Aravis: That's not architecture my preternaturally white, yet sun soaked, non-friend.

Shasta: Well, on the architecture, why do the walls extend to the edge of the island and thus into the water, wouldn't that expose them to unnecessary erosion, erosion that could easily be avoided by setting them inland just a bit.

Bree: Get on, Shasta.

Aravis: You keep saying that phrase, I do not think it produces the result you think it produces.

Bree: You two have been worse than ever since that girl in the Chevy showed up.

Bella: All that I said was that a war Elephant is ten times cooler than a war Horse.

Shata: And that a war Tyrannosaur is a hundred times cooler than a war Elephant.

Aravis: And that all of these things pale in comparison to a war Mosasaur.

Bella: Right, but you need to pack a breathing apparatus if you want to ride a Mosasaur.

Bree: Get on, Shasta.

Bella: *has far away look in her eyes* Unless you outfitted the Mosasaur with pixie dust so it could fly through the air. *attention returns to reality* Have you guys ever been to Neverland?

Aravis and Shasta: Where?

Bella: Magical kingdom of danger and adventure ruled over by the fierce but fair pirate Wendy Darling. Second star to the right and straight on till morning.

Shasta: We could have been to a magical kingdom in one night!?

Aravis: Why are we going to Narnia!?

Bree: A pirate can't lead a kingdom properly.

Bella: And four British kids who are so stoned that they don't even remember they're British can?

Bree: They're not stoned they're just...

Hwin: Mind whammied. I've been staying out of this mess, but if you're going to defend Narnia's governance system then that's where I put my hoof down. Aslan abandons us for a hundred years and then when he finally shows up he hands power to a bunch of foreigners who don't know the first thing about running a country? It's not right.

Bree: Now madam--

Hwin: At least pirate captains you can vote out of office if you don't like them. What can we do if we arrive in Narnia to find that those foreigners have run it into the ground?

Bree: Divine right--

Hwin: Is no substitute for good governance.

Bree: A pirate is a criminal!

Bella: And what's an insurgent campaign of people opposed the government that's been in power for the last century composed of if not criminals?

Bree: Freedom fighters, why--

Bella: Unless there's a law saying, “Treason isn't treason anymore when you're fighting for freedom,” which I very much doubt the witch would write, freedom fighting is a criminal enterprise.

Bree: This isn't even your story!

Shasta, to Aravis: So, is this valley that we've come upon in spite of starting out at sea level and never making note of going uphill... is it a lush forest valley in spite of apparently having endless desert on the other end?

Aravis: Oh, no. Those are terraced gardens and orchards.

Bella: I thought it looked like Machu Picchu.

Hwin: Wait, is this some kind of Babylon reference?

Aravis: Well, Babylon was part of Arabia, but I think it's just ordinary hanging gardens instead of symbolic ones.

Shasta: I say, this is a wonderful place.

Bree: I daresay.

Hwin: Well of course you dare to say it, otherwise you wouldn't have said it.

Bree: But I wish we were safely through through it and out at the other side. Narnia and the North!

Aravis: Please remember, dear readers at home, that it is not the journey that counts but instead the destination.

Shasta: And you should never stop to smell the roses or enjoy the sights.

Hwin: And certainly never mingle with people from other cultures, because they are strange and dangerous beings, unless God personally delivered them into your company.

Shasta: But even then they're either snotty or silent. *to Hwin and Aravis* No offence.

Aravis: I know how I'm written and the twisted moral I am to provide, and I feel no shame in it because it is the author's doing, thus the author's fault. It hardly reflects upon my character.

Hwin: Indeed if we couldn't speak about how the author misuses our characters, what would we ever speak about

Aravis: Well I don't think you'd be allowed to say much of anything, my friend.

At that moment a low, throbbing noise began which gradually swelled louder and louder till the whole valley seemed to be swaying with it. It was a musical noise, but so strong and solemn as to be a little frightening.

Bree: That’s the horns blowing for the city gates to be open.

Shasta: I don't understand.

Bree: Of course you don't.

Shasta: Is the horn blowing to tell the gatekeepers to open the gates, so that all gates can be opened at once for some reason, or is the horn blowing to let people know that the gates are already open? I guess I'm just having trouble parsing “gates to be open.”

Aravis: The phrasing is somewhat interesting, perhaps it means “for the purpose of the gates becoming open”

Hwin: Or it could be that the “for” is an explanation, The horn is blowing, for the noun verb adjective.

Aravis: But, in that case, I don't think you'd use an infinitive. You'd say, “That’s the horns blowing, for the city gates are open.”

Hwin: Well if it were a purpose clause then would it not be, “That’s the horns blowing for the city gates to be opened”?

Shasta: Don't look at me, I'm the foreign-born slave of a despicable fisherman, no one ever taught me the nuances of grammar.

Bree: Or how to ride.

Shasta: I wish the donkey were here instead of you.

Bree: He's a dumb beast!

Shasta: She has love in her heart. I never should have left her behind.

Bella: If I'm allowed to ride the Horse back to my truck I could get you your donkey.

Bree: Why are you even still here? I won't let you ride me.

Bella: I meant the fast Horse.

Hwin: I don't mind taking you there, but I don't like separating our party. For how long would I be gone?

Bella: We'll I'd have to get to the truck, take the truck to a time and setting where there were horse trailers, get a horse trailer, attach it to the truck, take the truck to pick up the donkey just after Shasta left in chapter one, come back for you, and then bring you and the donkey to the city gate the others will be using because that's the most logical place to meet.

*Bella thinks a moment*

Bella: I can have you at the city gate to rejoin the others five minutes before they arrive.

Bree: But we're almost at the gate.

Bella: Exactly.

*Hwin lets Bella on her and takes off*

Bree: We shall be there in a minute. Does that strange girl think she can have Hwin at the gates four minutes ago? Aravis, do droop your shoulders a bit and step heavier and try to look less like a princess. Try to imagine you've been kicked and cuffed and called names all your life.

Shasta: I'm the actual human former-slave in the party. Shouldn't I be giving the “How to look like a slave advice”?

Bree: I've seen more of the world.

Aravis: And I've lived around human slaves my whole life. I think I can manage based on my own observations. *to Bree* What about you drooping your head a bit more and arching your neck a bit less and trying to look less like a war horse?

Bree: Hush.

Aravis: No.

Bree: But, here we are.

Aravis: Then our horse shouldn't be talking.

*in the city*

Shasta: Is anything wrong?

Aravis: Everything that I've lost hit me all at once. I'll recover, but it just suddenly made everything more real to see people where my station says I should be --riding on liters with soldiers before them and slaves behind-- while I'm here with nothing.

Shasta: Makes sense. I'm used to having nothing, but I can see how it would be harder when you had so much and now you have nothing.

Bella: Well not nothing, you've got a friend.

*Bella hands Hwin's lead to Aravis*

*Bella hands the donkey's lead to Shasta*

Shasta: *to donkey* I've missed you so much. I'm so sorry I left you.

*Shasta hugs the donkey*

Shasta: *to Bella* Thank you.

Bella: No problem. What's her name, by the way?

Shasta: She doesn't have a name, she's just the donkey.

Bella: Very Breakfast at Tiffany's*. I'll see you around Hwin, Aravis, Shasta, donkey.


* In point of fact my cat is named cat and my gecko named gecko and it has nothing to do with Breakfast at Tiffany's. Still, Bella knows pop culture references provided they aren't to the pop culture of her own generation.

* * *

It was asked who Bella was and I explained:

Snarky Bella, owner/friend of the Tardis Truck, fond of telling Edward how insignificant he is, and she's been to Narnia once before, or perhaps after since it was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

* * *

[How Bella ended up showing up was also originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]

I wasn't trying to derail this thread into Bella-land, I was just figuring that any where you could be looking down on an island mountain from the valley side would be be kind of big, so I wrote "the great valley" and then I remembered that that was where Littlefoot et al. were trying to get to in The Land Before Time, and who better to say hello to the dinosaur walking by than someone with a time machine for her truck?

She can't always be toppling dictatorships or fighting zombies, sometimes she needs to go around and stretch her legs.

Plus it's been too long since I wrote her. I just looked it up and it's been twenty and two thirds months since I last had her appear. It's not surprising she found a way into other fic given that she hasn't had much of her own.

At some point I need to write up how post-vampirification she accidentally causes Éponine to become the first president of a stable Second French Republic. She was just going out for coffee, honestly, but you'd be amazed how quickly things can spiral out of control beyond the barricade.

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