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Black Lives Matter, this isn't hard

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old plans, part 2 · 12:16am Aug 24th, 2017

You saw the other one? I've been uneasy about my treatment of this made-up South American culture. I worried it was a little irresponsible. the author's notes at the end would have been a lengthy discourse of what I know of Incan culture irl, and what it's turned into in the modern day and how they're doing. I'd have briefly covered the natives of Bolivia and Chile, and made it clear that there are huge differences between the real South American natives and the stuff in fiction. Sorry, people, but I try to be politically correct. It beats the alternative.

Whatever, here's Nayra. I'm starting with her because she was up next, and I'll work chronologically from there.

Nayra de Pacífica Virgen María is, in a word, a hardass. She's 14 years old, and jacked up from living as a guerrilla soldier for half her life. She has a cane because she walks with a heavy limp (stepped near a mine). She's missing an eye but doesn't wear an eyepatch to cover the empty socket, preferring to pull her hat over it. BTW, interesting fact about real life: the bowler hat is a traditional bit of headwear for Bolivian women. The history behind this is interesting. Google it!

Powers: Nayra is a born empath. She feels the emotions of those around her in the same way other people feel their own, and see out of their eyes if they're within 20 feet or so. The combat implications are considerable, of course and the empathic power means she start a riot in the space of minutes with a bit of well-placed rhetoric. The Nightmare can further manipulate people for Nayra, inciting fear or rage when needed.

Nayra took over a major Incan city and declared it an independent state of Antisuyu. This made her a populist hero for a few days, but opinion is starting to shift as people realize she's got a rather authoritarian outlook. This downslide is going to continue as the story goes on. (And Celestia doesn't help, because Celestia is kind of an authoritarian herself from a human perspective, and while she refuses to back Nayra up, she takes it upon herself to play city peacekeeper and reaches a state of utter exhaustion trying to create an effective surveillance state with a curfew and informant network and so on. This fits into a larger trend where humanity begins to see the downside of this wandering, all-powerful monarchist who flits around and plays meddler. Then again, it is discovered that Celestia is NOT immune to tear gas. Oops, getting distracted.)

The worst aspects of Nayra's personality would be virtues anywhere else. She's a true believer, is utterly selfless (also not very self-aware), and has the patience of an inquisitor.

Where does Celestia and the gang sleep, or make camp or whatever? The center of the city, with Nayra and her core group. It's the best place to fight the Nightmare, and no one is going to try and stop Celestia and co.,

She separates Americans into two categories: privileged but well-meaning idiots, and evil imperialists. Mag fits the latter so far as Nayra is concerned, and they argue endlessly. Jeff is very much the latter because, hey, did you know the man is infamous in western Latin America for his destabilizing role in the most tempestuous events in recent Latin history? Cut off his head and sell it at auction and you'll come out of it a multimillionaire. Nayra has picked up a high opinion of Celestia and Luna, though, and wouldn't do anything to harm her companions.

Luna, meanwhile, devotes herself entirely to thwarting the Nightmare, looking for a way to destroy it/her. So while Celestia is going through the process of total psychological collapse as she's stuck between trying to control a city of alien rebels and thinking about everyone she's lost, Luna is draining herself dry by fighting an indefatigable opponent. Immortality is a spectrum, and the Nightmare is further along it than Luna is. Mag gets a glimpse of the fight, and while watching Luna fight in dreams is like watching the world end (Luna doesn't screw around with weapons--she hits you with concepts, changes the rules on you, tears your cognition apart), in the end, it's like watching someone try to scream the dark away. You can shout all you like, but it's still night outside.

More later. Questions so far?

Report Ragnar · 419 views · Story: A New Sun ·
Comments ( 8 )

Oh my goodness, so much to intrigue and discuss in here. I admit, part of me is a bit intimidated by how dark it seems things would get, but I have faith it would've been pulled off with your usual flair.

Nayra sounds really fascinating as a character, empathy and revolutionary cause and such. and I like how she divides the group (and that tidbit about Jeff) as well as your point about her flaws and virtues being somewhat reversed due to her location.

The Nightmare fight sounds incredibly intense to both write and experience and I'm sure that would give Mag some rough stuff to handle, especially as I'm sure it would be hard on Luna too.

I mean, this fic has been dark before. The darkest chapter, the one with the Throne, is probably the best thing I've ever written. And the great thing about making things dark is that, since I'm writing about a bunch of good people, or at least a bunch of people I find sympathetic and often noble, I think this would have done work counteracting the downer effect on the reader. I would have had ample opportunity to compare Nayra and Celestia, and they'd both come out of it more sympathetic and interesting, or so I feel. Imagine Luna saying, "An empath? I know something of that, my goodness, so I do. Have you ever run into a wall because you forgot which person you were in a crowd? Do you sometimes forget to eat because it is too easy to ignore your own hunger in the sea of sensation that is your world? Yes, I know you. So wise, so stupid. You are beautiful."

Writing about Luna fighting the Nightmare would have been a lot of fun. It'd come down to endurance. Luna can do this all day and she's too self-assured in her home court advantage for the Nightmare to hurt her except by going after Mag and the other mortals, but it's tough to protect those mortals 24/7, and the Nightmare simply doesn't get tired. Then again, Luna can hold Nayra hostage in the same way the Nightmare can go after Mag, and the Nightmare is absolutely sincere in her devotion to Nayra. Jeff can put a permanent stop to any hostage-taking simply by pointing a gun at Nayra and asking if it's time for her to die for her country.

Maybe I did miss the twist bit - but it seemed like Valerie had become host to something by the end of Plans Part 1. If not the Nightmare, then what?

No possession, she's just sort of a dick.

Who is she talking to about wanting to kill Sunhorse then?

Mag wanted to kill Valerie, is what I was getting at.

Oh! That makes more sense now. I had thought Valerie was writing in a notebook as a way with communicating with the Nightmare.

Actually why would Mag even care? She didn't even know the country existed before they traveled there. She would actually go with Luna idea of just grab the Nightmare host and leave.


“Dear sister is not what we are here for. Humans are nor your ponies, just... stop. Take a time out. We will grab the host of the Nightmare and then we will just leave.

“But I can't-”

“Yes you can.” This time it was Mag arguing.”You think this place is mess? There are worse places in Earth. This is not your world, you are not Earth’s Regent. The Elder might be an asshole but he was right in one thing. Humans are not ponies. I wish we were but we are not. Listen to your sister, please. I don't know if humans can kill you but that thing with the tear gas? It scared me, it scared Luna. Remember what your real objective is? To get your world back, not to rule over this one. I mean I wouldn't mind you ruling my World but... it would just keep you busy, I made that mistake. I just declared that my dreams were dead and just keep myself busy, don't do it to yourself, pretty please wuth sugar on top? I will even take Bitterman on a date later. Just... try to not get suicide by human okay? Luna wouldn't accept that and I literally have to live with her.”

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