It all began in my Journalism 101 class in my local college. We start the class by mentioning various bits of news we’ve heard. A fellow student mentioned that my college’s day-care clinic had enacted a new rule for Valentines’ Day: not to celebrate Valentines’ Day, the reason being that it’s “religiously-based”, due to the St. part of St. Valentines Day (little do these horribly naive people realize that St. Valentine himself would be repulsed if he saw how his feast day was celebrated nowadays).
So instead of calling it St. Valentines’ Day (in a misguided attempt at being neutral) are calling it “Friendship Day”, where kiddies give each other “Friendship Grams”. Not only does this needlessly confuse the kid (who no-doubt will go home telling his parents that Valentines’ Day has changed), it also sets up the child to disbelieve everything he hears from an authority figure, which sets the stage for future conspiracy theorists in addition to just plain ignorant people. One must wonder when it became acceptable to lie to children like this.
In addition, how does one define “friendship”? There are many different ways a “friendship” could exist. Is it an acquaintanceship, a close friendship? If so, how close? Does it have romantic inclinations (at least as romantic as a child could be)? There are so many different ways this plan could go awry.
However, despite all of this, I have come up with an equally-ridiculous alternative to Valentine’s Day that still preserves it’s spirit: Xochiquetzal Day!
Now, I derive this conclusion from several lines of thought:
1. It’s generally agreed that Aztec religion is myth. Thus, that immediately removes any religious connections. Just because someone names their child Heracles doesn’t mean that they believe that Zeus causes lightning and that the wine god died to give us the secret to eternal life (as some Greeks believed).
2. Xochiquetzal is a goddess of love, flowers, and the arts. Her festivals involved people wearing animal masks. So in the end you get a holiday that’s like a mix of Halloween and Valentines Day, with many arts and crafts on the side. Not only that, but she’s a woman, which should please any woman who’s angry about every important figure in a holiday being a man.
3. It increases children’s cultural horizons: not only do they learn about Aztec mythology, thay laos learn that it was not all blood and gore stuff. Also, learning how to correctly pronounce her name would aid in developing articulation skills.
Thus, everybody wins! So, a big, warm, belated Xochiquetzal Day to you all!
(All who find this article please send it to your friends and family! Merry Christmas!)
Santa Claus is a figure most are famiilar with in the Western World. The image of a fat, bearded jolly-man can be found every Christmastide. However, many do not know where he came from, and fewer know that he has more than one origin.
This is a history of the roots of Santa Claus as we know him today. (Note: Any corrections/additions would be much appreciated).
His story begins as St. Nocholas/Nikolas of Myra. He was born to a wealthy Greek Chrisitan couple in what is now Turkey, his parents being Epiphanus and Johanna (or according to the Orthodox Church Theophanes and Nonna). He was aaid to of been a religious youth, and to have observed the fasts of Wednesday and Friday. When his parents died from a plague, he went to live with his uncle Nicholas (same name), who was bishop of Patara, where he was made a priest by his uncle.
He was said to have done many miracles, including resurrecting several murder victims and manipulating a load of wheat to save his people from a famine. However, his most famous feat (and the inspiration for the Santa story) was when he heard of a poor man who had three daughters for whom he could not pay the wedding dowry for. Fearing that they may become prostitutes, the father despaired. However, Nicholas, wanting to help but also being very discreet, filled three purses with gold and threw them through the window at night. Also, he was known for going around putting gold coins into shoes people left out for him to put stuff in. His feast day is December 6th (more on this later).
However, according to some theories, Santa has deeper roots in old Germanic paganism, primarily traditions regarding the god Odin.
These theories derive from several traditions associated with Odin, those being that he sometimes galloped across rooftops on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir (kids would put food in their shoes and leave them near the chimney for Sleipnir to munch on the snacks), his long, white beard, and that he led the Wild Hunt during Yule. Though these are striking similarities, and may of provided fuel for several Christmas traditions, it is much more likely that this is a case of people taking similar attitudes to similar situations, at least for those traditions previously cited (a theory I like to call the “Humans are Uncreative” theory, which I’ll expand upon in a future post).
Things remained rather consistent until the Protestant Revolution, where Catholic traditions came under attack, including those regarding Saint Nicholas. However, the modern traditions of Santa Claus began to emerge in various parts of Europe from the 17th-18th centuries, some very close to the modern Santa, some very different.
In Central Germany, Saint Nicholas was forced to retire due to the Protestant Reformation. However, to continue the tradition of gift-giving people create Das Christkind, the Christ-Child, who to this day is the traditional gift-bearer on Christmas (in addition to the resurfaced St. Nicholas and imported Santa Claus). Christkindel, a diminutive for Das Chirstkind, morphed into Chris Kringle, another name for Santa.
Another central European tradition in the Krampus, a vicious monster that ran around scaring naughty children whilst St. Nicholas/Christkind simultaneously rewarded good children. It was traditional for people to dress in the garb of the Krampus in the first weeks of December and run around frightening people, a tradition very similar but unrelated to a Japanese New Year Tradition (which will be expanded upon in my New Year’s post).
In England, the figure of Father Christmas developed, more of a personification of the Holiday spirit than any saint or deity in particular. He is a large, jolly man dressed in a green robe who spreads Christmas cheer to all.
In Scandanavia, the tradition of the Yule Goat started from before the Protestant Reformation and continued on until 1840s. The tradition may go as far back as the worship of the god Thor, who rode through the sky in his chariot drawn by two goats. In Sweden and Norway it was a figure that made sure Christmas preparations were done correctly, whilst in Finland it was considered an ugly creature that terrified people and demanded presents (a subtle reaction to Swedish occupation?).The Yule Goat came in through the front door and gave presents to kids directly. This was usually acted out by a family member dressing like a goat and doing the gift-giving.
However, starting around the 19th century it began universally to bring presents during Christmas. The rise of Tomte the Elf (and Santa Claus later) replaced the Christmas Goat, but the tradition still lives on through holiday decorations.
A later Scandinavian gift-bearer was the Tomte/Nisse/Tonttu, a elf-like being said to look after farmer’s homes. Usually a manifestation of an ancestor, after Christianization they were seen as devils. However, the tradition of giving porridge for the Tomte during Christmas survived, being a remainder of ancestor-worship. Later he became the gift-bearer during Christmastime, delivering presents directly to the children (as the Yule Goat before it).
However, the Santa of Today has his most direct origins in the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas.
Literally Saint Nicholas, he is celebrated on December 5th (the eve of St. Nicholas’s feast day). In the 1800s his legend became fully fleshed out. He came from Spain via Steamboat, and, being assisted by small, black men in green suits called Zwarte Pieten (Père Fouettard in Belgium), went about the business of rewarding good children with sweets and small toys, whilst simultaneously placing naughty children in a sack and taking them back to Spain to be punished.
A “Black Peter”
In recent years he has gained a steed named Amerigo (Slechtweervandaag in Flanders) and has started to gain attributes similar to those of the American Santa Claus, to the dismay of most Dutchmen.
Santa Claus as we know him today began to take shape in the 1800s, combining features of the various St. Nick figures throughout Europe. He started to gain his modern appearance in Washington Irving’s A History of New York , in which he depicted Santa Claus as a thick-bellied pipe-bearing Dutch Sailor in a Green Winter Coat. In the 1830s many modern features of Santa formed, especially in the poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas, better known nowadays as The Night before Christmas, which was the first to describe the reindeer-sleigh, the sack of presents, and the act of entering through a chimney, the chimney tradition probably having roots in both tales of St. Nicholas throwing coins down the chimney and fairies and elves coming trorugh the chimney bearing gifts. Later, Thomas Nast created the first modern Santa for the January 3rd, 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly.
Nast later expanded upon this Santa, and served to provide the Santa for the Coca-Cola advertising campaign with Santa, leading to the erroneous (and quite ignorant) that Santa was created by Coca-Cola. And the rest, they say, is history.
There are many similar traditions all around the world, but the inclusion of them all would probably double the length of this article, and thus this article’s scope is limited to those traditions that were the founding blocks of the modern Santa.
I hope this article was informative and enlightening, and as stated earlier would be pleased if anyone could offer any corrections/expansions on this article.
Yeeeeeeeah, Holidays, college papers and relatives make for one heck of a writing environment. However, I WILL post tomorrow. In the mean time, please enjoy these nice pictures.
I am definitely doing a post on people fighting sharks one day.
1) Bring loli of mass-destuction to U.N. Headquarters.
2) Threaten them all with death and doom.
3) They laugh. I politely ask Flandre to demonstrate her powers on a dummy.
Believe it or not, this picture is one of the reasons I’m getting back into Fantasy. I like the feel of it. I also like it because it’s practically the exact opposite of a Tolkien-fantasy.
Gee, I don’t know how much that scarf is doing for you if you’re wearing a skirt, Nue.
I wish I could do Watercolor this well. I really, really do.
If you get this image, you watch too much anime.
(Fixed some errors. Damn tiredness getting in the way of good writing.)
A glaring error in most fantasy fiction is the fact that most writers hardly put any effort into creating believable conlangs (fake languages). Either they don’t even bother, draw from existing languages such as Old Norse/Celtic/Norman-French, come up with vaguely-language-like words, create a few words and then leave the rest vague or unattested, or make a “fictionary”, a language that sounds completely different then a real language but non-the-less follows the rules of English (or whatever language the writer is writing in), if it has language rules/structure at all.
Also, when a writer has a being with different mouth-parts from ours speak exactly the same way everyone else speaks, it runs into the fridge-logic of someone wondering why a being with a fang, say a vampire, can enunciate “s”s correctly. In real life, any creature with enlarged canines/tusks attempting to speak English would sound like this:
I vant to shuck your blood! (Romanian accent aside)
Sho what do you have planned today, my mashter?
Lookit! Dem ‘umiez ah shoilin’ demshelvez!
Name’sh Shuika. Nishe t’ meet you!
As you noticed, if you have a fang/tusk, you are likely to palatalize your “s”s, AKA s=sh. Some people use s=th for this kind of lisp, but it’s not likely, but still probable.
So, what can one do to avoid these problems? Here are some tips:
1. Don’t just copy the style of someone else’s conlang. When elves appear in fiction, they almost universally speak something very similar to the Quenya/Sindarin of Tolkien’s elves, what with all of the soft consonants and front vowels. Also, whenever someone wants a monster to appear brutish, stupid etc. they would probably create something vaguely-similar to Tolkien’s “Black Speech”, with a bunch of gutturals, fricatives, hard consonants etc. Doing this is not just highly uncreative, but it verges into theft.
If you want a unique language for your elves/orcs/etc. try creating a different sound system then Tolkien had. For example, I’m currently working on a elf-like race based off of Steppe Herdsmen/South-West Native Americans. Thus, their language will have sounds derived from Altaic languages (like Mongolian, Turkish etc.) and Athabaskan (Apache, Navajo etc.). Doing this, my elves would sound more like Worf then Legolas, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay to make a unique elf-language.
2. Relating to the above, don’t give the “evil” species/races Black Speech, and don’t give the “good/neutral” species/races pleasant Tolkienesque speech. Do something creative, work those neurons! Have an elf named Khadatl and a troll named Lavani! Don’t be scared of what others will think of your innovations: just push forward!
3. Read up on other, preferably non-Indo-European languages (Indo-European languages include English, French, Persian, Hindi etc.). It would be helpful to learn some linguistic lingo as well.
4. Unless the fantasy world takes place in our world, I highly advise against giving characters names like Smith, Hrothgar, etc. unless you are able to come up with an alternate meaning in the native tongue (and example with Human languages, “Ano” means “that” in Japanese, but “anus” in Spanish. Spelled/pronounced exactly same way, but completely unrelated).
5. Don’t throw in random apostrophes willy-nilly! Have them actually serve a purpose! Example: a glottal stop (like heard in uh-oh), an ayn-like sound (in Arabic/Aramaic), a ‘ to show palatalization (like in Romanized-Russian), or contractions (like English don’t, French qu’est).
6. All else fails, just learn a few tricks about language-shift and you should be just fine. As an example of this, I present my language Feic-ahec (pronounced fake-ake). All I did was morph English words a little bit and switch around some sounds, while making sure to remember to create original syntax as well. Also, I based the transcription method off of French to give it a quasi-exotic feel. The word knife, grieve, was developed this way:
Knife -> Krife (based on how cn- in Irish/Scottish is often pronounced cr-)
Krife -> Grive (here I de-voiced k and f. Voiced consonants are d, g, v, z, etc. because you use your vocal chords to pronounce them. Unvoiced consonants are t, k, f, s etc. due to the fact that if they were voiced, they would become their voiced-equivalents).
Grieve -> Grieve (Here I just made a French-style spelling).
So, as a finishing note, it is easier to create your own language then you would think. All it takes is a little bit of effort and research.
P.S. – As a note to my long-time readers, I have not forgotten about my “How America sees Anime” series. I’ll finish it when I know how to give it a satisfactory ending.
Look through a catalog of fantasy. Any. Undoubtedly, you will find an abundance of vampires, dwarfs, elves, werewolves, and their kind. Even the tentacle monster, which was relatively obscure for most of the 20th century, has been overused to death (especially by our good friends in Japan).
Thus, the inevitable outcome of this be thus: fantasy has grown immensely stagnate.
Where is the motivation to read, for example, of a Medieval-esque warrior (with a vaguely European-language influenced name) riding his horse through the European-style countryside, fighting werewolves, being tempted by some sexy vampire (it is very hard to find a non-sexy vampire in fiction these days), and slaying evil dragons in the name of a religion undoubtedly inspired by Catholicism, pre-Christian European traditions (Celtic and Norse are incredibly popular choices), some hackneyed New-Age beliefs, or a mixture of the various, appealing elements? Where is the freshness in that?
Who wants to read stories of elves, when inevitably they fall in either the Tolkien-style, pseudo-“original” style, or folklore style? What is the point of including dwarfs in the if they are just going to be rip-offs of Tolkien’s? Or, as fellow blogger Lyndon from Digital Kicks puts it, “Generic is the New Fantastic”.
Pictured: Totally Original
Also, why would people endlessly read the multitude of vampire novels that are just rip-offs of Anne Rice’s work? Why read stories with vampires if they are just going to be the same damn thing over and over again? Does anyone who writes vampire fiction nowadays write it, or do they allow the archetypes to write itself? Does any vampire-writer these days write fiction not aimed toward the preteen/teenager/bored housewife/emo/goth/punk/scene/whatever they call themselves these days? What’s the deal with the hostility with werewolves these days? Can anyone name any story from before the 20th century involving vampires fighting with werewolves?
Also would it hurt to include some variation in the type of vampires used in fiction? Where are the Chinese vampires that have to hop due to fused knees? Where are the Penanggalans, Keyaks, and their ilk? Where are the odd, flying heads of South America that suck people’s souls through their noses? Where are the evil Kitsunes and Jyourogumos? Why does every type of vampire have to be European in type?
This is probably the most creative vampire I’ve ever seen.
The end result is that, whereas vampires could be awesome, they instead now both literally and figuratively suck.
They certainly do.
On another note: Werewolves. A being that was popular amongst the lay-folk but not too popular in actual writing that somehow got gobbled up by a mixture of Hollywood and the Victorian Age and got spat out as the werewolves we have today. Also, I’ve noticed that for some reason or another werewolves and vampires seem to be enemies the past couple of decades. Why has yet to be really answered. The Van Helsing movie probably had something to do with it.
Also, why is it that one cannot find any other of the were-creatures found throughout the folklore and history of the world? Where are the were-bears, were-snakes (nagas?), were-bats and were-jaguars that were especially popular amongst the Mesoamerican peoples?
Pictured: Good idea hardly anybody uses.
And, to follow the rule of three, I shall now rag on another common fantasy trope: Elves.
What’s the deal? Before Tolkien, you could hardly find anything that we nowadays would call an “elf” in fiction. At most, they would be of the Gaelic/Norse variety, and would be more like the odder good-folk then the perfect beings we know them as today. However, post-Tolkien, every damn elf is a smug, elitist prick that more often then not would resemble some odd combo of Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, and Hugo Weaving mixed with Warcraft.
Another thing of note is that,in the original Norse mythology, Dwarfs and Elves were the same thing. So, looking at the smug attitude Elves have for dwarfs, one could make the argument that Tolkien-Elves are racist as well, seeing how dwarfs and Elves are the same species.
To wrap it all up, I’ll just have to say that all I’m really looking for is something unique. There is so much folklore and mythology in this world, yet hardly anyone uses it to tell original stories. Where are the stories of young men struggling to gain the affections of a sad and lonely, yet beautiful (in a strange way) Homunculus? Where are the stories of women falling in love with their friendly-neighborhood were-jaguars? Where are the stories of hot romance between people and selkies? Where are the heroic epics based off of the exploits of Makoma?
Also, if you want to be truly original, make something up! Black elves that live like Tibetan monks, Chinese Dwarfs, a Naga falling in love with a were-pigeon, an epic of a hero trashing around in a Mongolian-inspired landscape and scoring with penguin-chicks? The possibilities are endless; so, if anyone reading this wishes to write fantasy, take these ideas to heart, and don’t fall into the trap of bland rip-offs that modern fantasy is.
Generic fiction is for the Transient People.
Instead of posting several articles, I instead will post this story I wrote. Enjoy, and if you like it, spread it around. Also please leave comments! It motivates me to write!
Hades, Lord of the Underworld, the Hidden, the Wealthy, the Oath-Watcher, awoke early one morning despite his best efforts to remain asleep. Groaning, he got out of his bed, stood up, and walked out of his room, softly closing the door so that he would not wake his wife Persephone. Walking down a long, spiral staircase, he finally reached the lower corridors of his manor, and walked down one to the kitchen. He walked in and leaned on the counter, waiting for his chef to come in. After ten minutes, his chef Agata Krolek came in.
“Good morning, my lord. Having trouble sleeping again?” asked Agata, a young , red-haired woman apparently in her early twenties.
“Yeah, you could say; tell me, how long has this been going on?” asked Hades, his head resting in his palm.
“I’d say roughly three months now, sir. What do you think the problem could be?” asked Agata.
“Oh, I just don’t know, Agata; I swear, I try doing the best I can. I make sure everyone is judged accurately by Minos and the others, I try to make this existence as comfortable as I can for them. Why would Hypnos deny me sleep?”
“I’m not sure, my lord. What can I serve you today?”
“I’ll have some coffee, Ethiopian, and a couple of croissants. Big ones, no butter. Also, some bacon would be nice.”
“Right away, my lord.”
Hades went to his throne, now more like a desk after the recent innovations, and sat down. He booted up his computer (it’s the modern age, you know) and set to work categorizing the various profiles Thanatos would be bringing him today. At this time, Hermes came in, swooping down from the ceiling with his winged sandals.
“Good morning, my dear Uncle! How are you today?” asked Hermes, his skinny frame landing on the chair in front of Hades’ desk.
“Oh, I’m fine. Just didn’t sleep well, that’s all.” said the lord of the underworld as he sipped his coffee from a mug saying World’s Best Underworld-Lord on it.
“Ah, I see. So how’s Persephone?”
“She’s fine. She’s just settling in after moving back from Olympos for the Summer. It took her a couple decades to get used to the place when I married her, but she really has taken a shine to it the past couple of millenniums. How’s the Psychopomp business going?”
“Wonderful! Charon should be arriving any minute now with the new arrivals!”
“Good. I’m sure it’s been easier the past couple of centuries with the new agency you’ve made. Sure is easier then guiding all of those souls yourself!”
“It sure is! Instead of serving a couple hundred souls a day, I’ve been able to serve thousands! The Afterlife Directory is very happy about it!”
“Of course. It means less complaints filed against them!” at this, both Hades and Hermes shared a laugh.
There was a ring, and Hermes lifted his cellphone out of his satchel and held it to his ear.
“Hello, this is Hermes speaking, how may I help you?”
After a moment, Hermes nodded and turned off the phone.
“Have to get going. Charon just called saying he’s arrived. Bye, now!”. Hermes then took off, flying into the air as gracefully on his winged sandals. Afterward, Hades cracked his knuckles, stretched out in his chair, and resumed typing and organizing.
Hades sat back in his chair thinking about what to do with a certain case. The profile of one Sebastian Hernandez was open on his computer. According to the profile, Sebastian died being ran over by a train as his car stalled on the train tracks. After arriving in the Directory, he filed a complaint, stating that he didn’t deserve to die like that, and that he demands reparations. This would be all fine and dandy if it weren’t for the fact that he died several years ago, and had been waiting for someone to examine his case that whole time. Hades sighed, and picked up the phone on his desk, punching in the number for the Directory. He was not going to like having to deal with this.
Hades sat back in his chair, arms folded, with a face that showed intense focus. Next to him, sitting on her throne comfortably, was Persephone, who was currently knitting. After a while, she spoke.
“Hades, darling, what’s the matter?”
“Aw, nothing, dear. Just not looking forward to the meeting, that’s all”. He had scheduled the meeting for Sebastian at 12:00 P.M., and was not looking forward to telling him the bad news that reparations were impossible.
After a moment of silence, Persephone turned on the large television mounted on the wall opposite of Hades’ desk. After sifting through the millions of channels available to Afterlife personnel, she finally settled on a show about the beautiful beaches of Planet Hairron.
“We should take a vacation one day, dear. It would do both of us good!” said Persephone to her husband.
“What, and leave the Afterlife to someone unqualified. No!”
“Why, dear? I’m sure you can find somebody capable enough. I know it’s a delicate process, but you got to have faith in someone to run things while you’re gone!” said Persephone with a smile.
“We’ve been over this, Persephone. Last time we left for vacation, when we got back Thanatos was trapped in a jar and nobody was dying! How the hell do you trap DEATH ITSELF in a jar?!”
“Now, honey, that was so long ago! I’m sure you can trust one of your new aides with the task!”.
After a moment of silence, Persephone got off her chair, knealed down by Hades, clasped her hands together, and looked up at him.
“Ple-e-e-e-ease?” she said, doing her best impression of a young kid asking his parents for a puppy. After several minutes of this, Hades rolled his eyes, sighed, and said “Alright, I’ll ask around.”
After shouting “YAY!”, she flung her arms around him, kissed his cheek, and skipped out of the room.
“Women..” Hades groaned.
“So, as I was saying,” spoke Sebastian Hernandez, who spoke more like an attorney then the plumber that he was in life.
“due to the unjust ramifications of my demise, the car stalling JUST as the train was coming, ensuring my UNJUST demise, I DEMAND that I be re-payed in full, and be brought back to life, so that I can continue my business as I was. Any questions?”
He had been rambling on like this for roughly fifteen minutes, and must of used the word “Unjust” at least a hundred times in that period. Hades was starting to get irritated.
“Well?” asked Sebastian.
Hades paused for a moment, then spoke.
“Well, Mr. Hernandez, though your argument is, er, sound, I’m sorry to tell you that it is beyond my power to grant you the reparations you seek.”
“What are you talking about? You’re the Death God, aren’t you? Why can’t you fix it?”
“Well, for starters, I’m not the Death God; that would be Thanatos. Secondly, I was not the overseer of your death; that would Xolotl. Thirdly, in order to bring you back to where you were several years ago would require a reversal of time, which would require an appeal to the House of Time-Lords, which alone would take 100,000 years at best to get all of the proper paperwork done, and would require the coordination of billions of deities all throughout the Universe. Even then, the Time-Lords would probably take one look at your appeal, laugh, and then continue on with their business.”
All was silent for a moment. Then:
“Well, can’t you do anything?”
At this, Hades just sighed, sunk into his chair, and just gave up trying to talk sense into the man.
I need a Vacation thought Hades.
Hades, having finished all of the filing for the day, was sitting at his desk playing Starcraft. In days past it would get quite boring after this, but the advent of modern technology meant that Hades would never be bored again. (However, it did have the side-effect of making him less patient). Persephone was in her seat again, this time watching a nature program about various minor dragon species.
“Honey, can we watch a movie?” asked Persephone.
“Sure, dear. What would you like to watch?”
“Um… I was thinking of watching that new Disney movie Prin-”
“NO. No. Nononononononono-NO!” said Hades, shouting the final “no”.
“Because of their uncalled-for portrayal of me in Hercules. I mean, what the hell? BLUE FIRE for hair? And, to add insult to injury, they white-wash Hera by making ME Hercules’ antagonist! Also, where the heck were you in the movie? Did they even bother to properly research the film? All they had to do was pick up a copy of Bullfinch’s Mythology! He neatly summarizes everything in an understanding and umambiguous way! Why-”
“Alright, I get it, we won’t watch any Disney movies. How about a Romantic Comedy? You love those.”
After a brief moment of thinking, Hades and Persephone both decided to watch Fight Club instead.
Hades was at the dinner table, being served a delicious Roast Beast (yes, beast) along with spiced and seasoned vegetables and Cod. At his right was Persephone, to his left was a vaguely-Algerian man named Adherbal, wearing a white tunic, cloak, and turban. Several chairs down sat Slawodon Wyszewolsky, a young man with short dark hair, and Agata Krolek.
Hades had been mulling over his decision for vacation since that afternoon. He stopped eating and looked at Adherbal.
“Adherbal, what would your response be if I said that I was planning a vacation?”
Adherbal had to keep himself from choking on his food. A smile appeared across Slawodon’s face, and Agata seemed vaguely shocked.
“You really mean it, dear?!” asked a now excited Persephone.
“Yes, and I would like to request the three of you to look after the place when I’m gone.”
“So that’s why you had us sit down with yuh guys.” said Slawodon, his eyes closed, still smiling as he sipped his wine.
“Why, sir,” said Adherbal, “When do you plan on leaving?”
“In two days. I’ve already booked a week in the Blue Havens of G’Maru.”
“Oh, I LOVE that place! I’ve heard that they have the universe’s tastiest fruit!” said a still very happy Persephone.
“Then I shall make the necessary preparations” stated Adherbal, his composure now regained.
“Then let it be.” said the very-silent Agata.
Hades laid on his bed, pondering, whilst Persephone read a copy of Hilligabl’s The Rat in the City.
“What are you thinking of, dear?”
“Oh, nothing. I’m just thinking of what to take with us to G’Maru, that’s all. It should be rather nice this time of year. Also…”
A pause, then,
“…I’m concerned about leaving. Are you sure that I can trust Adherbal and the others with the place?”
“Of course you can, dear. That’s why you picked them.”
“Well, I guess you’re right.”
Persephone then placed her book on the side table, kissed her husband on the cheek, and turned off the lamp by the side of the bed.
“Good night, Hades.”
“Good night, dear.”