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Notes - Little Lark

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First, a bit of housekeeping on ages/names:

Wallace is around 23 in this fic. Madelyn's 20. The other key players are also in their (indeterminate) 20s. As for my naming scheme, y'all know I hate naming OCs and such, but I kept with a vaguely Roman-Britain/Celtish theme. Any other names that show up are from the game.

Cordelia -- a reference to Shakespeare's King Lear. (Kent and Cordelia, a duke and Lear's daughter respectively, are the only characters who remain loyal to Lear to the bitter end, even after Lear banishes them. Our Kent's mom has always been named Cordelia in my head for this reason. lol.)

Adrian -- a reference to Hadrian's Wall. Also, alliteration ftw!

Brandon -- pulled out of my ass. Well, somehow my brain jumped from William Wallace to Bran the Blessed, but this one's not so much an active ref. He just felt like a Bran, and it fit in my naming scheme.

I also switched back to the "Djute" spelling over "Jute", which I have preferred in the past. I still prefer "Jute" for various reasons, but not to the extent that I really care which one is used, so I figure I might as well just go with the fan translation on this one.

And now, three main things to point out about this fic:

1. People tend to have a very limited view of medieval women and their place in life; I was trying sort of to respond to that while not completely disregarding the limitations that *did* exist for them, and the general mindset of society. (The society that these women were born and raised in, and thus shared in the ideals of.)

That being said, I'm well aware that there are "anachronisms" regardless. Chalk it down to FE being not our world but a fantasy world -- with magic, and with at least two highly respected historical women, one of whom founded what is probably the major religion on the continent -- which does or *should* change the dynamics somewhat. Also, I'm admittedly lazy, so some of details I just threw in if I could make it sound more or less plausible. (potatoes -- which was mostly a nod to hooves EPIC depiction of Wallace XD, patronage of the arts, etc.) I mean, again, I have Lycia, especially eastern Lycia down mostly as early medieval, Roman-Britain-ish era, but there are definitely some world-building details I slipped in that are probably more accurate to later periods.

At any rate, mainly this is just to say, I don't really buy the spunky tomboy!Madelyn interpretation that I think is probably common. In a relative backwater canton like Lycia it's not unbelievable (see: Isadora, who is also a nobleman's daughter, though I wouldn't exactly call her tomboyish either), and in fact seems like a natural assumption to make, given Lyn's personality and well, the fact that Madelyn ran off to the plains. Nothing against it, I guess, but it's pretty cliched imo, and anyway it's more interesting I think to assume the opposite, and really make her a product of her society. It makes her ultimate decision far more difficult and complex. Instead I funneled off the tomboyish aspects to Cordelia, mostly because I like the idea that Kent's mom was crazy but mellowed out with age (also other factors, but won't go into them here). I was also setting up an obvious parallel there with the Cordy/Brandon relationship -- eloping probably did not in general lead to happily ever afters.

2. Sacaen/Lycian relations were modeled loosely on a mix of American Indian/colonist relations and Christian (Western Europe)/Saracen. (The Sacaens themselves are more Mongolian than anything though, as I've mentioned elsewhere.) I know very little about Roma, otherwise I'd say there's a bit of similar stigma attached to the Sacaens probably. Similarly to #1, I was writing from the viewpoint again that if you're born and raised in a society with a certain set of prejudices and standards, you're going to retain those same prejudices no matter how open-minded you might otherwise be. And often these prejudices will not be overt, but rather will manifest in very subtle ways -- not all of which will appear "negative" at first glance. Also, prejudice goes both ways.

More or less, I'm pretty cynical about Madelyn/Hassar and don't think it was quite the romantic episode everyone likes characterizing it as, though I have no doubt the two of them eventually fell genuinely in love. (We begin to see that happening towards the end of the fic, I think.) For one thing, I have a hard time figuring out what Hassar would be doing smack in the middle of Lycia anyway, not only for long enough to have become good friends with Wallace but also with enough freedom to interact with Madelyn on a regular basis and indeed, fall in love. Sure, Lycia and in particular Caelin probably has "looser" standards, allowing for more freedom of interaction -- hence the servants' relatively friendly relationship with Madelyn -- but I reeeally don't think Lord Hausen would have allowed his daughter to interact casually with just any guy off the streets, especially a Sacaen. (there is almost certainly an element of "savages stealing our women" involved wrt Sacaens and Lycians, though the truth is probably the opposite, i.e. probably more mixed marriages involve Sacaen women and Lycian men rather than the other way around.) Also, I could understand if Hassar were hanging out in Araphen or one of the other cantons closer to the border, but in Caelin of all places? Hmmm. (Guy in Santaruz is an exception -- we KNOW he's been wandering away from his clan, in order to prove himself. But Hassar's the chief of the Lorca, or at the very least the son of the chief!) Well, this is addressed in fic, obviously.

3. Lycian politics must be insane, if only for the sheer number of players involved. Military arms are probably a much larger factor than court intrigue in general (contrast Etruria). And aside from that, Lycia fascinates me because it strikes me really as the most heterogeneous of the various countries on Elibe. There are a variety of cultural influences at work, I think.

But, perhaps most relevantly to this fic, Lundgren has never really made much sense to me. According to primogeniture, Lundgren would in fact be the heir over Lyn in the order of succession. In most instances. Though actually the way inheritance is set up in Elibe frankly confuses me. Clearly we have something like equal primogeniture or actually something probably closer to agnatic-cognatic or cognatic primogeniture as oppposed to purely agnatic in place (see: both Lyn and Guinevere), but eh. To put it in plainer words, women *can* inherit -- i.e. females are not excluded entirely from the line of succession.

Bah, primogeniture is confusing period, though. This is a pretty decent rundown, though seriously lacking in sources. (see also: order of succession) Or see this book (published in 1895 by a British dude).

Lyn's case is simply weird in particular as she's not just female -- she's the daughter of a daughter. And the other thing that seems to be clear about Elibe is that, as a typical "medieval" setting, inheritance is traced through the male line. So if Lyn were a son, then yeah, she'd maybe have a stronger claim than Lundgren (by "quasi-salic inheritance", in which succession can go through the female line but only males can inherit still). And then there's also the whole deal regarding proximity of blood. And this is leaving out the fact that Lyn's father is Sacaen, and that Madelyn wouldn't have inherited if she had stayed and married Araphen in the first place. There are really a lot of factors at work here -- i.e. it's really not as clear cut as the game tries to make it. Lundgren actually has a pretty strong claim on the throne even without resorting to the whole "Lyn is an imposter spiel" (which is probably another factor in why he has so many supporters, disregarding the implied blackmail).

The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that Lundgren himself has no tenable heir. I mean, clearly he's old enough to be a grandfather, and yet the game treats him as having no heirs? (In the sense that, if not Lundgren, the throne should have gone to Lundgren's son, or daughter if he had no son, and from there on to his OWN grandchildren. The whole inheritance dispute realistically would NOT have ended with Lundgren's death. As long as the male line holds out, they'd have priority over Lyn. And whether or not she actually had the strongest claim she really really would not have had an easy time of it if she'd actually wanted the throne, as she wouldn't have had any political backing whatsoever, and only the slightest military backing!) And if he didn't have heirs -- then why the fuck did he want the throne so badly? If he'd been a younger man at the time he made his power grab, then that'd be totally understandable, but if you believe the game he's just been sitting around for YEARS waiting for his brother to conk out so he can enjoy a few years of rulership before he himself conks out... huh?

So no, Lundgren almost certainly has heirs of his own, but for some reason or other their claim is just as shaky as Lyn's. But before Lyn shows up, there are no other complications, so hey, he can rest easy, assured that the throne's going to go to them through him regardless, simply because they're the only options.

Anyway, this will be explored more in Wherever I May Find Her. I'm just setting up some issues beforehand here.


And re: other stuff, yes, I was intentionally drawing parallels between Wallace/Madelyn and Kent/Lyn (though they really don't quite map very well XD), and yes, Hassar speaks quite a bit, if only because I don't believe in ".... ..... ....." romances. :P

And if you can't put two and two together regarding exactly what Madelyn was planning, it's probably my fault, but damn it, I just wanted to get this fic over with already. So uh yeah. Sorry. Her motives are complicated and not at all straightforward.

Anyway, if I don't get around to responding to comments I'm sorryyyyyyyy but really tired. T_T

(This fic totally needs to go through a round of editing when I am considerably more sane. i.e. I FAIL)
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On June 22nd, 2009 03:54 am (UTC), hooves commented:
[Cordelia -- a reference to Shakespeare's King Lear. (Kent and Cordelia, a duke and Lear's daughter respectively, are the only characters who remain loyal to Lear to the bitter end, even after Lear banishes them. Our Kent's mom has always been named Cordelia in my head for this reason. lol.)]

I haven't read King Lear, but my brother recently did for college, and...he asked me if I thought Kent might have been named after the Kent in King Lear. I said I wasn't sure. Now I'm starting to think that he might have been... I mean, he is very loyal, and even when he doesn't know Lyn well, he's loyal despite being considered a traitor (along with Sain) by many.

Thanks for the nod. :D

[I was also setting up an obvious parallel there with the Cordy/Brandon relationship -- eloping probably did not in general lead to happily ever afters.]

Hmmm, with Cordy and Brandon versus Madelyn and Hassar? It worked well.

[Also, prejudice goes both ways.]

YES! Did you read Barbaric Charm by Sardonic Kender Smile? She deals with that, a little. That Lyn's offended that Kent and Sain might have been prejudiced toward her, but...the whole time, she lumps Kent in with all those people who were against her, acting prejudiced herself.

I have no idea why I'm thinking this, but for some reason, I'm thinking that Hassar was actually in Caelin's military. Why am I thinking that? Maybe I read it in a 'fic...or something. Hmm...

Blargh. I have a lot to say dammit. AND DARN YOU, I WORK ALL WEEK AND IT'S ALMOST MIDNIGHT.

Anyway. Yes.

Okay so.

Madelyn's plan was not apparent to me from the start, if only because she does little thinking of Wallace, though what eventually let me catch on was, indeed, her "Will you come and find me?" line to Wallace. Ah, so I see she likes him! :D

(Which is tragic, as Wallace never does find out... Makes you wonder though, doesn't it...if Madelyn ever told Lyn about Wallace... A directionless knight that she once knew.) Anyway, Madelyn's tight-lipped love for Wallace was interesting, actually, as she's clearly practiced in the art of concealing her feelings... Being a lady and all, she probably had to have learned it.

Blahblahblah, I'll comment more in another thread thinger.

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On June 22nd, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC), shimizu_hitomi replied:
Ah yeah, I'm pretty sure Kent was named after the King Lear character, because loyalty is his definitive trait in the Shakespeare, in a story where pretty much everyone else betrays/abandons Lear. (King Lear Kent is hardcore -- even though he's banished, he disguises himself and comes back to serve at Lear's side, not that it ultimately helps much!)

Hmmm, with Cordy and Brandon versus Madelyn and Hassar?

Yes, though to a certain extent also versus Madelyn and Wallace (in the sense that seeing Cordy and Brandon makes Madelyn realize at some level that a relationship with Wallace would never work out if *they* were the ones to elope).

I think I did read Barbaric Charm! I remember liking the way she handled that. And I think it was Xirysa who wrote Hassar in Caelin's military, if I remember correctly. (I liked her Madelyn/Hassar too.) Personally though, I have a hard time imagining Hassar getting away with marrying Madelyn unless he was already chief, in which case he'd have his hands full with Lorcan affairs and not exactly free to be serving anywhere. I also suspect in general that Sacaens were too proud to serve under Lycian lords unless they were already outcasts/exiles (murderers, thieves, whatever) of some sort from their clans, which would go some way to explaining the bad reputation they have among Lycians. (Rath and Guy really seem to be exceptions from the norm.)

Madelyn's plan was not apparent to me from the start, if only because she does little thinking of Wallace

Hee yeah. Though her thoughts do always eventually seem to circle back to him I think, and her plan was not entirely about Wallace. Mostly she was thinking if she could pretend that Hassar had err "taken" her, i.e. she was now "spoiled goods", it would be Araphen who would call off the marriage, leaving Hausen's reputation intact, and, if she handled it well, the Caelin/Araphen alliance still intact as well, as they would be united against one common enemy...... And the plan hinged on Wallace being able to find her and bring her back before anything *did* actually happen (though of course she *wanted* him to come find her too). Not really a well thought out plan, though it might have actually worked (what ends up happening works out actually pretty similarly, i.e. the common enemy, because I'll bet all the blame ended up falling on Hassar anyway -- which is why Kent says that Caelin and Araphen "have enjoyed a sturdy friendship for many years" despite this whole fiasco), but I don't think she was actually seriously considering it until the moment came and she just -- went with it.

I totally did not make this clear though.

But yeah, it's sad. In a way she's trying to convince herself that she doesn't care for him, which is why she tries not to think of him too much. (But he still ends up in her thoughts!) And she just... decides never to tell anyone, because she knows nothing will ever come of her feelings even if they're reciprocated, and figures it's "better this way" because no one will be hurt, except herself. (She figures Wallace is dense enough that he'll never realize anything, whether regarding her feelings or his own.)

(Of course, Hassar figures it out anyway, but Sacaens are perhaps less reliant on language to communicate, and Hassar's a pretty observant guy to begin with. :P)
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On June 24th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC), hooves replied:
Okay, my God, I have tons to respond to. I think this must have been what you were thinking when you saw all those messages from me. :D

(I don't feel guilty.)

Yeah. It's not like Araphen is a bad man, based on what we see of him in
game. And since Araphen is supposedly only second to Ostia in size (and
presumably power) it's not really a bad deal for her, especially when she'd
probably grown up *knowing* she'd eventually be married off to one of the
other lords. She doesn't really have much reason to be against it; to her it's just a fact of life.

Oh, I agree completely. And to be honest, when Lyn meets him in-game, I think one of the reasons she's really angry is because... I actually don't believe that she could hate Marquess Araphen. I think she knows that deep down, he's not a bad person. I mean, he'd have offered her aid if she'd cried for it, which is pretty cynical and asshatterish, but it's not like he killed her or anything; he let her through unharmed. Which is more than I could say for some other cantons. (Imagine if she'd have had to go through Laus, what Darin/Erik would have wanted from her to let her through. -_-)

Either way, you're right. Even if Madelyn didn't adore the idea of marrying Araphen, it would be a big honor to be married off to someone from such a large canton.

(Rath and Guy really seem to be exceptions from the norm.)

Only sort-of, since Rath was exiled, himself/cast out.

I totally did not make this clear though.

Hehe, I'm just not very good at seeing things like that, sometimes. Other times, I can read a lot deeper than is necessary. I guess I can never make up my mind, haha. Either way, your explanation made perfect sense! ♥
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On June 24th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC), shimizu_hitomi replied:
Yay! I'm glad it made sense. XD

I think in this case it's definitely my fault though -- I was seriously rushing the last few sections and didn't really bother explaining exactly what was going on. (I was also having a hard time figuring where to fit in an explanation, if at all.) I'm probably going to fix that in the future, if only to make the hints a bit more obvious.
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