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Challenges: Past 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Challenges: Past 2
Could you flesh the Jewishness of district 8 out a bit? Perhaps an origin story? for karintheswede

The basement stinks to high heaven from the wet cotton scraps in their varying stages of paper making. We don't feel that scraps are stolen, as they'd be discarded, anyway, thrown into some huge junk pile in the Capitol. This basement is nearing the end of its usefulness. We don't dare keep the workspace in the same place for more than three weeks. Our boss gives us enough cover for this. He's the one whose name is on the District Charter -- Mozheh Blatt. We teased him at Passover about having led us out of Egypt, but the truth is, if he hadn't offered to buy the district industry and move his fashion production line out here, they'd probably have come up with a completely impossible industry for us -- shipping Mississippi ice back to the Capitol maybe, or building snow houses to send to District Four.

"Or brickmaking with no straw," Mozheh cracked on the way. "At least we have the experience."

We laughed, but it's not funny. No one expected the Capitol to be happy to learn that we were still practicing -- they prohibit anything that might cause conflict -- but since we weren't the ones who were actually murdering our fellow citizens and destroying their businesses, we didn't expect to be the ones who got exiled for "agitating."

Because blowing a shofar was a perfectly logical reason for our neighbors to ransack our homes and scream about how we set off a plague in Europe during the Last War.

Again, with the plague. Sometimes, when they really get going, we also set off the Flegrei eruption. I have no idea how we're imagined to have done that, or why they think we'd set off a tsunami in the Mediterranean that ended up joining the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee, and destroying everything in its path.

Abram Tuchman (officially re-named Weaver Took) looks up from the table. "A little late, Bekah?"

"Back-up at the baths," I say, looking over my shoulder toward the mikveh. "There was an accident. A lot of people got cut. Nothing big, but… you know."

He nods and stands up, wrinkling his nose. "I did two sheets. I still don't think rag paper is okay."

I hold my hands up to the sky, and say, melodramatically, "If the Holy One, Blessed Be He, cares if we use parchment, He'll send us the goats. He's done it before, for Abraham. Has He been sending goats?"

"No goats."

"Then He must be fine with rag paper. Where are you leaving me?"

"Devarim, chapter sixteen. Just finishing verse 11."

He hands me the bound Tanakh that my father was able to sneak out of the Capitol, which we've been working from to create the new scroll. My twin brother, Ben, has been finding old wood around the city to build an ark for it.

And thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God, it says in Hebrew, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite that is within they gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are in the midst of thee, in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there.

"So, I get to pick up with our tag line."

He nods. "'Always remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt.'"

I think about the people I was waiting behind in line for the baths, with their bandaged fingers, and the coughs they're developing from breathing in so many fabric fibers. "Who needs Egypt? We're in a narrow enough place as it is." I consider this. "What do you think they'd have called Panem? It's not actually a narrow place."

"I don't know. The scattered place, maybe? What would that be?"

I blank on it. I can copy Hebrew. I can make sense of what I see. But to come up with a word I don't already know?

I sigh. I guess in a few generations of hiding, it will go all the way back to being a dead, ritual language. We'll take the silly names the government wants on our papers, and those will be our real names, and the others will be dead, ritual words.

"Are you all right?" Abram asks, standing up and leading me around to the chair. "You look peaky."

"Why shouldn't I be all right? How many people get to fill this particular mitzvah?"

"There you go. Do you think we can finish before Simchat Torah? It's only seventeen more chapters."

"And fifteen days, some of which we can't work on. Let's not rush. It didn't kill anyone to dance with the bound book last year."

"You don't suppose anything survived in the old city? I think we were here."

"Yes. Minneapolis, the seat of American Jewry."

"I didn't say that, just that we were here, and maybe…"

"Ben's looking."


There is no more to say about this. Most of the city of Minneapolis was bombed to its foundations. The chances of finding a random Jewish library after a couple of centuries of being empty and in ruins are somewhat slim, and with the speed the Capitol technicians are using to clear out the "old rubble," I doubt we'll ever get a decent archaeological expedition going. The last thing the Capitol wants us interested in is the past.

Abram leaves and I pick up the storyline, though in Devarim, it's really more about rituals that we either can't perform anymore or that time has weeded out of the culture (some of it quite for the good; stoning people who do evil doesn't seem to quite jibe with the constant exhortations to love the stranger, and it was the latter that took root). I am careful as I write, daubing the pen (made from a river reed) if it seems to be too full. I do the mitzvah, and I say the blessings for being allowed to do it. It's not proper. We know it's not proper. Technically, it's supposed to be on kosher parchment, copied from a kosher scroll.

Like so many other things here, we're compromising. Our scholars of the oral law work with what they've been able to save, remember, and scribble down. Our families try to keep what they remember to keep, with very little to remind them.

Better to compromise than to forget entirely.

Eventually we will, I guess.

Maybe not everyone, but most. In other times, when we've been exiled, it's been as Jews. Our district charter doesn't even use the word. In fact, it doesn't say exile. We've been "given" this land, to be a protection against old hostilities. The closest it comes to mentioning the root of the hostilities is a brief mention of us being "strangers" in the Capitol. Now, we remember the truth. In a few more centuries, being taught by only half-educated people like me?

I want to think that we'll be fine, but how can I believe it? My little nephew, now six years old, doesn't remember why we left at all, and my older sister is afraid that if she teaches him, he'll say the wrong thing to a Peacekeeper. By the time he's old enough to be told, will he want to know?

I sigh.

I've reached the end of the piece of rag paper I'm working on, and I go to find another dry enough to use. I stitch the two together, and continue my mitzvah.

May I have something about a victor who's more involved in her/his home district? Am I right in thinking a few of them volunteer in the schools and get to know the children? for Anon

The first big thing I bought with my victors' salary was a truck.

It's bugged and tracked -- of course it is -- but I don't care. They can watch my little red dot zipping around District Eleven all they like. Might even be handy if I ever have trouble on the road.

The second big expense was the ballet lessons.

Those were harder. I had to create a studio in my house, with a live feed from a Capitol dance academy. I was afraid they'd stop letting me do this after I lost my temper during the Games -- my poor boy never had a chance in the urban wasteland of the arena -- but they've been surprisingly forgiving. There've been no consequences for it other than a stern talking to.

My instructor still thinks it's impossible to really learn ballet this way -- video feed classes all year, and master classes when I'm in the Capitol for the Games -- but even she thinks I'm doing well enough, after two years, to go on with. It's not like I'll be performing in a troupe (no time for rehearsals, and I might have to leave the Capitol before a performance), but well enough to dance on my own, and give lessons.

That's where the truck comes in handy.

I felt a thrill of freedom when I lost sight of Victors' Village and the main town in my rearview mirror, but I feel another thrill -- the thrill of homecoming -- when I see the first peach trees coming into view, as I climb up into the hills. I the spring pink of the blossoms, and the people in the fields, tending the trees. It's hard work, and it's thankless, and it all goes to the Capitol, but the smell is fine and fair, and the fragile color is my favorite in the world. I've broken my arm in these orchards, been whipped for stealing a peach, and sweated until I was sick from it here. But this is also where I whispered secrets to my sister in the dark, where I walked the dewy grass and looked up at the stars, and where I fell in love under the soft moonlight.

It's home. Home is never uncomplicated.

I slow down when the old processing plant comes into view. It's still an eyesore -- a huge corrugated tin warehouse, rusting in many places. My mother lost a brother to tetanus when he fell in here, but of course, it wasn't replaced until the crop was damaged. The new one is up the road. It's also an eyesore, but a much sturdier one.

The old one is supposed to be condemned, but they never have gotten around to taking it down, and it's something of a gathering spot. I park beside it and go inside.

It's exactly as I remember it. While it's ugly on the outside the inside is weirdly beautiful, with grasses and mosses growing through the broken concrete and sunlight dappling through the ceiling, creating spotlights on the floor. There's still an unbroken area near the front. That's where the class will meet. I can pour some new concrete there, maybe, too -- extend the area if I have enough students.

The back door creaks open, and the man standing there is smiling. He's small and thin, like most of the orchard workers, but I know how strong he is. I launch myself into his arms, and he picks me up, kissing me and swinging me around. "Seeder," he says. "It's been too long."

"I mean to come out here more, Windrow. I just… I need permits to travel in the district. It's stupid. I can't come out here except to teach my classes. Well, once a year, like I've been, but it's not enough. I can't believe you haven't given me up as a bad job."

"Me, give you up? What world have you been in?" He kisses my nose. "I'm still planning to marry you this winter. That's a little hard if I give up."

I could stay here all day, doing nothing else but staring at him -- at his deep brown eyes, the cockeyed cowlick over his left ear, the soft, dark brown of his skin -- but if I don't actually do what I'm supposed to be here for, I imagine I won't get a permit for it again.

"Is anyone here for my class?" I ask. "Or did they all decide it's a waste of a Sunday?"

"Nope. Bus has about twenty for you. Mostly girls, though there are a few boys out to impress them."

"Of course." I go outside. Several little girls with their hair in braids are coming off of the bus. A young giant is helping them out the back door. "My goodness, who's that?" I ask.

"Remember my littlest brother?" Windrow asks.

"That's not Chaff?"

"In the flesh. If he gets much bigger, he'll be too big for the trees. They'll send him south to work in the fields."

I wrinkle my nose and wave to the boy, who I remember mainly as an irritant when Windrow and I were trying to sneak out at night. He can't be more than fifteen now -- he was born when we were five -- which means that even this isn't his full growth.

"Are you going to dance with us?" I call to him.

He swings another little girl down from the bus, and says, "I’m not dancing until the wedding," he says. "Just helping out."

"What about you?" I ask Windrow. "Are you dancing?"

"I'll wait for the wedding, too. But I thought I'd watch. You look real pretty dancing on television."

I smile and go inside to the "studio" part of the building. I really need to put in more effort here. Clean it up a bit, maybe put in some mirrors and a proper barre, like I have at home, instead of the rail that Windrow has installed for me.

I feel like myself again. That's been rare since the Games. The children come in and form a rough arc around me, blinking in the hazy sunlight coming through the roof.

"Morning," I say. They mutter it back. I smile. "I'm real glad to see everyone. You're all going to dance so pretty by the end!"

A little girl in front raises her hand. "Will we twirl on our toes, like you did on television?"

"You need special shoes for that, or you could hurt your feet. But who knows? Maybe someday down the line, you'll be ready to go en pointe, and I'll buy you shoes for it if you are."

"Like we can ever do that," one of the girls scoffs.

"I don't see why you can't! You're strong from the work, you've got to be graceful in the trees. And you wouldn't have come here today if you didn't want to try."

"Will it help if we get reaped?" a boy in back asks. "Or in the orchards?"

I sigh. I suppose I knew, inside, that it would come to this. "It can't hurt," I say. "Being strong and graceful and having good balance can be a help anywhere. You know it can in the orchards. But that's not why we do it. In fact, I'd say you should turn that around, and ask how working in the orchards can help make you a better dancer. Think of all the ways you can practice balance and movement…"

I manage to bring them around after a little while, and we start doing stretches. If anything will help them in their everyday lives, learning how to stretch out and properly treat their muscles will be the thing. I take them to the rail and teach them to turn their legs out from the hip instead of the knee, and we do our barre exercises. It's hard work, which I think surprises them, as I hear a few muttered complaints.

I walk behind them, checking their form. "I'm not giving you any quarter here," I say. "Just because we're in a rusty tin hut, it doesn't mean that you don't deserve to be treated like dancers in the very best Capitol studios. You deserve nothing less than that, because you have as much potential as they do." I look at the girl in front of me and correct her arms. "Keep your arms soft and beautiful."

"I ain't soft and beautiful!" a boy calls out, in high spirits.

"You are when I tell you to be," I say. He laughs. I continue down the line, correcting turn-out and teaching them pliés and relevés. They try to bring it back to the Games, but I don't let them. Once the Games become everything, then we've lost.

I work them for an hour and a half, then tell them to cool down. We all have some water (I've brought nice, clean, cool water with a twist of fruit in it, just as a treat), and I go to check on Windrow and Chaff. Chaff is trying to make his legs turn out while Windrow laughs at him.

"You're welcome to join my class," I tell him.

He stops immediately when he sees me and mumbles something about it being too easy.

I sit down beside Windrow and let him put his arm over my shoulder while the kids come back ot the bus. A few of the girls are practice their port de bras, but most of them are just twirling and jumping playfully, their bodies seeming caught on the evening breeze.

"You coming home with us for dinner?" Windrow asks.

I nod. "Yeah," I say. "Of course I'm coming home."

What triggered the first Rebellion (the one that resulted in the HG to begin with)? for vesta_aurelia
Picking up a little bit (well, prequelling, really) from this fic.

The lake is blood red with the sunrise, and my old neighbors are harsh black shadows against it. We've been talking since the moon was high, but we're no closer to an answer. My little boy, Effrim, is curled up beside me, sleeping with his head on my knee. Asleep, he looks like any other Ridgie, with black hair olive skin. It's only when he's awake and those big blue eyes of his are showing that he makes people think of Lura, rest her soul. At the moment, it's probably better that they're not thinking of her.

There are no merchants here, just a bunch of Ridgies from the Seam. We were here before Panem took over and sent in the Irish caravans to serve as our merchant class. We were here before Kearney (or, as it's been called for a few centuries, District Thirteen) locked us into a trade agreement before that. As far as we know, we were here before the Catastrophes broke the world apart in the first place. Up here in the back country, mostly ignored for a long time, I guess they just forgot to annihilate us.

They probably won't forget this time.

Back when the resort was really just a resort, a place for miners to come and spend a weekend in the woods with their families, Lura and I invested in an outdoor television screen, which we used to play action movies and musicals and comedies. On Saturday mornings, we played cartoons for the children while parents had a chance for a little time to themselves.

Now, it's tuned in to transmissions from Thirteen, though now and then, we switch to the Capitol broadcast to see what they have to say for themselves. The broadcasts are all disrupted; the signal towers have been damaged. Images and sound cough in and out of existence.

The Capitol story is simple: Thirteen "agitators," one from each district, have been executed. They don't hide from it. In fact, they show the simultaneous hangings over and over. The decent people of the districts, whose lives have been disrupted by these rabble-rousers, can now breathe a sigh of relief, and get back to the business of daily life, without fear of violence in the streets.

The story from Thirteen is more ominous: The Capitol kidnapped thirteen people at random and executed them in a show of force to stop the demonstrations against the new taxes. Most of the dead are women. I don't know about the ones from the other districts, but I don't think that Clover Croswell was our biggest agitator. She was in on the demonstrations, sure -- she did an impromptu speech in the square about not giving the Capitol any quarter, as long as they kept demanding unsafe mining practices to fill their quotas -- but if I were to pick the firebrands, she wouldn't even be in the top ten. My own sister Daisy and her husband, Chick Purdy, would probably be higher on the list.

A stuttering image of Lizzie Harrison, mayor of District Thirteen, comes to the screen. We don't catch every word, but there's enough. "…act of cowardice… Clemm… innocent lives… avenged… join us. Join and… against the tyrants…"

"Turn that blasted thing off," old Angus Abernathy says, pointing his walking stick at it. At eighty, he's about as ancient as anyone gets around here. He has great grandchildren. "It's the same damned thing she said last night, just new words."

"We still have to know how she's saying it, Pappy," his grandson, Cliff, says. "You're the one always talking about words, and knowing what they mean."

"I don't know why we're still talking about anything," Daisy says. "We're in this fight already."

"Fight?" Angus snorts. "We've been playing games with them so far. Not much more than pranks. What the Harrison woman wants is a war. You ready for a war, honey?"

"You bet I am."

He waves his stick dismissively. "You don't even know what a war is. I was on the front lines when the out-district raiders were on the move, back when your daddy wasn't even born. It's not like your storybooks. People get their arms and legs blown off. Die of infections with bullets in their guts. You're shooting in the dark and hoping it's not your own people screaming when you hit them."

Effrim moves a little bit in his sleep, and I hold up my hand. "I appreciate the thoughts, Angus, but I got a six-year-old here."

He looks like he might go on, maybe even point out that, if the war drags on, even Effrim might not be spared conflict. But in the end, he's been a father, too, and he just nods. "Apologies, Everdeen. But I think he's sleeping well enough for now."

Aster Carson shakes her head. "You should take the boy inside to sleep. I left my girl home for this."

"Effrim is home. And the news like to scared him to death with the hangings. I'm not going to let him wake up without me there."

"You've always been too soft-hearted, Dale. If you were in the mines instead of holed up here like a merchant --"

"Then I'd be like my own father was, and sitting up with my son when he had nightmares, no matter how tired I'd be in the morning."

She grimaces, then stalks to the edge of the lake. "I'm with Daisy. We can't just sit around here and let them think they can scare us into obeying them. We took a stand on the taxes. They came back with executions. We're not the ones deciding to go to war. The Capitol already did that when they hanged Clover Croswell."

"She's right," Billy Skaggs says. "Clemm hanged ten women, and three boys barely old enough to own a razor. Pappy Angus is right -- "

"I'm not your pappy, boy."

"You're everyone's pappy, and you love it," I tell him. He grins.

Billy has no patience with this. "Whoever's pappy you are, you're right. We've been playing with them so far. We can't play anymore. Not after this."

Jerro Magill, who's been pacing down at the shore, comes back up. "I'm not playing now. Clover was my friend. I don't care what you all do, I'm going to make the bastards pay for what they did to her."

There's loud agreement.

"What do you think, Everdeen?" Yarrow Rutledge asks me. "You want your boy to grow up in a world where this sort of thing happens?"

I shake my head. "Of course not. But we shouldn't do it alone."

"Harrison says that most of the other districts are with us. You know Eleven is. And even District Two! You heard her say that."

"I don't mean the other districts. I mean our own district, Rutledge."

"You want the Irish in this? They're the Capitol's people."

"He's right," Daisy says. "I had nothing but love for Lura, and you know it, but they were imposed on us by the Capitol. They're --"

"They're our neighbors and our families. And it's not just Effrim I'm talking about. They've been here since Panem came to Twelve. Three hundred years. There's no one standing here who doesn't have at least a few cousins in the square. We can't go to war with Clemm if we can't make peace among ourselves. We won't stand a chance if we're not on the same page."

"They'll never go for it!" Billy says. "Why would they? Their whole livelihood comes from the Capitol."

"So does yours, you idiot," Angus interrupts. "Do you think coal turns into money by magic? If we do this, the mines are going to feel it as much as the shops."

"It ain't their fight. They never had the Capitol take them over."

"But they do get strangled by the taxes," I point out. "I know it, because, like Aster says, I'm holed up here like a merchant myself. The square's been standing with us on the new taxes from the start."

"They just don't want to give up their money."

"Which is the exact same reason you're protesting in the mines."

There's a good bit of grumbling at this, though no one can quite articulate why there's the slightest moral difference between town and Seam on this count.

Finally, Aster says, "All right. Can you talk to your in-laws? Feel them out on it?"

"They don't have a right to fight!" Billy protests. "Not after they've been… parasiting on us!"

"Parasiting?" Angus repeats. "That's not a word, and you spend too much time listening to those broadcasts out of Thirteen."

I laugh. So do a few of the others.

I agree to talk to my brother-in-law, Colum, who owns the local haberdashery. It's the best we can come to tonight… though I have a feeling that when I get into town, I'll find out that Colum has been at some similar meeting of his own. War seems like a very distant idea, even as it seems inevitable.

The sky is getting lighter when Effrim wakes up and groggily makes his way among the people. They all tousle his hair fondly and pretend we haven't been plotting war around him. He goes down to the lake and splashes himself with water. The sun is higher now, changing blood red to fiery orange, I see my son against it, ablaze in the angry sky.

I don't want him growing up in a world where the Capitol can kidnap people off the street and hang them on national television. I want him to grow up free.

I am not alone. The people around me are with me. And when I go into town in the afternoon, I find that the merchants -- against the expectations of the younger firebrands -- have already decided to rebel, with or without us.

Three days later, we all stand together in square as the mayor reads the writ of secession, and the war against the Capitol finally begins.
16 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 21st, 2014 09:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh - I love that you've given us some more detail on the D8 Jews, one of my favorite aspects of your HG-verse. I particularly love the "narrow place" conversation.

I spent way too much mulling over whether or not there were loopholes that would allow them to participate in the reaping without violating Jewish law, which I think you mentioned as a concern in one story. Based on my (very inadequate) knowledge of the relevant section of Talmud, I came up with some ideas:

1. Sending kids to the reaping might be OK, because the community wouldn't actually be directly turning any individual child over; they were just having them assemble. Once a name was called, there wasn't much complicity required.

2. Alternatively (or in addition) all of the tributes EXCEPT for twelve year old boys would be legal adults, and thus might be considered to be acting voluntarily, which would remove any communal guilt. So, I can imagine an expectation in District Eight that in the rare case that a 12 year old got reaped, one of the older kids would volunteer.

3. The first quell would have been hard to justify, and I assume volunteers weren't allowed. I guess if all else failed, they could have gone with the whole "it is OK to violate Torah to save Torah," rationale, since they are presumably the last Jews in the world, and I can't imagine the capitol wouldn't have destroyed them for defiance.

4. I'm pretty sure the Tributes would be absolved of killing during the games under the laws of the rodef (pursuer).

Just a little nitpicking - there's no Shofar on Kol Nidre, and I've never actually heard it called Erev Yom Kippur, unless those things were intentional to show that the tradition is a little wonky?

As you can tell, I'm way too invested in this idea!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's been a while since I've been at Kol Nidre (and made the mistake of looking at the list of Jewish holidays on Wiki to get the time between the High Holidays and Simchas Torah, which used the "Erev..." formulation, which I thought was wonky but ignored my instinct), and I mixed it up. That's just a goof on my part, but I'd be happy to call it a goof on theirs. ;p Or I could just edit. That works, too.

I think you're right on number 4. As long as they didn't actively go hunting for other humans, the rodef exceptions would apply. That might even apply, metaphorically, to the reaping as a whole, but I think they'd still have trouble with it. The loophole of the kids collective volunteers might work, though again, I doubt it would happen without argument. The first quell, they did their own reaping instead of voting. I'm not sure how they got away with it, but they did it.

Edited at 2014-12-21 06:20 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 21st, 2014 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
~also slightly invested and very interested in the crypto-religious character you've given some of the districts.

I agree that rodef would apply during the Games, and that bringing children to the reaping is on dodgier moral grounds. We could Talmudically argue over it, but in-universe, I don't think it's necessary. This is a moral issue for every single district; and yet they do it. These wrenching moral dilemmas were very real in the Holocaust - some unbelievably strong individuals managed to steer by halachic (Jewish legal) guidelines, others did the best they could in horrific circumstances, and who are we to judge. [Not to compare the reality of the Holocaust with HG, but back in-fic-universe] I assume the same applies here. They don't necessarily have an ethical justification for what they do at the reaping, but they do it because the alternative is (maybe more) awful.

From: (Anonymous) Date: December 21st, 2014 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
~same anon as above

Just noticed that you edited the shofar blowing to Erev Rosh Hashana. Don't know how accurate you want to be in these stories, but here's the deal: the custom is to blow the shofar daily (morning, just 4 blasts) during the month of Elul as a call to repentance. Except for Erev Rosh Hashana, when the blowing is omitted in order to differentiate between the (merely customary) blowing of Elul and the shofar blowing on Rosh Hashana itself, which is a Torah mitzva and related to crowning God as King.

So I'd say your best bet here is simply to have them blow the shofar on Rosh Hashana. If they have to keep religion underground, they'd probably be focusing on the major observances, and letting go of customs.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops. It's been way too long since I was at services.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
A few protests shut down in any given districts would probably be enough of a show of force by the Capitol to remind all of the districts that the Capitol is in charge and can't be defied, and yes -- definitely a moral conflict for all of them. A halachic conflict, too, in D8 (because of the specific injunction about not giving one person up for the sake of the group), but a moral one everywhere. After 74 years, the districts have been so cowed that they even go along with dressing up and treating it as a holiday, so my guess is that the response to any defiance whatsoever is severe.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome! It was fun to explore.
sophiap From: sophiap Date: December 21st, 2014 01:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
These are all wonderful and gut-wrenching.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: December 21st, 2014 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Money and safety--the source of rebellions all through history.
You have such an understanding of human nature--even the grotty underpinnings, Fern.

You've given me a lot to contemplate. Thank you!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well... taxes and random public executions, to be fair. ;p

Thanks. I like humans, grotty underpinnings and all.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 22nd, 2014 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mine was beautiful, Fern. I hope you enjoyed writing it as much as I loved reading. Seeder and her ballet lessons were a great choice. It was nice to meet Windrow and see Chaff. Terribly poignant given what will happen -- which you've also foreshadowed beautifully. And the emphasis on home was exactly what I was hoping for. She's very rooted -- if you'll pardon the phrase -- in 11 and connected to its people. I loved that she focused during the lesson on how the dancing would help the children in the orchards. I loved everything about this piece. Thank you so much.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 22nd, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
It took a while to settle on who to write. I kept wanting to make it more Games-based. But Seeder seemed to want to give them back what had been taken, and to really be part of her community -- she felt like the place to start. I'm glad you liked it!
redrikki From: redrikki Date: December 22nd, 2014 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
All of these were beautiful. Seeder's quest to find beauty in a dark world was wonderful even if it ends tragically. I also loved the world building in the stories about 8 and the rebellion. They both seem plausible and drawn from history. I mean, Jews being blamed for a plague, being exiled and finding ways to hold on to at least something of their culture while going underground? Hello history of the European Jewry. And the seeds of the rebellion smack of the American Revolution. Taxation without representation will get you every time. And then you threw in class issues. Brilliant.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 22nd, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Much owed to Potok's Wanderings on D8. The Capitol very much took the French Enlightenment approach: Sure, you can have the rights of man... as long as you cease this stubborn different-ness.

I thought about going with something flashier as a, well, flash-point for the Dark Days, but going through some historical revolutions, it looks like almost all of them were murkier at the beginning -- lots of back and forth stuff before someone dumps tea in the harbor, or someone else fires on Fort Sumter. (American Civil War beginnings... dear God, they go back to the Revolution, and had just been steadily escalating for eighty years.) Each side probably would consider it something different, after rising tensions for a while (after all, you can't summon a mob to storm the Bastille if things haven't been festering for a while). It actually surprised me (I don't know why) to not be able to find single events that actually were the start of anything. So probably, for the rebellion, they'd talk about the "Thirteen Martyrs" or whatever, as the event that made them secede. But that would have happened because there was already so much going on.
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