It’s the “Old Notebooks” series, where I read back through the fantasy stories I wrote as a kid and mock myself mercilessly in order to mitigate my mortification!
PREVIOUSLY IN THE “SCRIGGLY” NOTEBOOK: Jordan & Isabel continue to recover from their illness on the island of the Evil Horrible Atlantian Deity, while the entire population of the palace (or possibly the whole city?) is inexplicably waiting for them to get better so they can all get going back home. Even though they’re just a couple of stable girls and this society is supposed to be absurdly classist, so it doesn’t make much sense for everyone to wait for them. Also, Jordan thinks the I.S.P. is dreeeeaaaamy; he got her a puppy, which she named after a dead horse; she was indecisive about whether to use his title or not in her diary, because relationship development or something; AND MY DARLING LOVE ROBERT HAS MYSTERIOUSLY GONE MISSING!!! If Robert is not okay I’m going to hurt something. Let us find out forthwith!
September 10, 10,223 B.C. – Sunday
Road to Atlantis City
I am so bored.
Well, I am so, so sorry. I know! Let’s play “Punch Buggy”! *punch*
We just got off the ship across the Cetirul Strait. It seems much longer than when we were going to the island.
Everywhere we look is destruction.
AND YOU’RE BORED???
… No. No, yeah, you’re right. Seeing the tragic remains of death and devastated lives everywhere you look is pretty boring. 😡
Side-eyeing you so hard right now, Jordan.
Of course, we can’t look at much, because the chariots go very fast.
Yeah, I’ve pretty much given up trying to figure out what kind of vehicles these freaking “chariots” are actually supposed to be. From now on I’m just going to assume they are this:
Which only increases my suspicions that someone is going to get fed to a sarlacc sometime very, very soon.
Archbishop Slinei told
meus that manymany people were killed in the flood (1,000,000(10,231 to be exact.)
Wow, for a society without internet, television, radio or telephones,1 they got a very specific death toll really fast. I also think it’s adorable that Little Me was at first like, “It was a lot of people! Like ONE MILLION PEOPLE!!! Oh, wait, no… that might be too many. Let me tone it down a bit.”
Also, anyone notice that the death toll number (10,231) is oddly close to the current year? (10,223)? In fact, it’s only 8 more than the year… Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that this is Little Me’s attempt at foreshadowing? Is Atlantis going to sink exactly eight years from now, in the year 10,231, and the whole reason I bothered mentioning this number here was as a not-very-subtle clue? I would bet money that that’s it. (I suppose I could find out right now by flipping ahead in the notebook, but I don’t want to spoil anything.)
Maaaannnn, I bet I thought I was being so clever and sneaky, and that no one would ever connect the dots! Hahahahaha… ehhh.
It’s times like these when I start to wonder if the stuff I write now won’t seem as clever anymore in another ten or twenty years.
He lectured us about how lucky we were to still be alive.
He lookedHe stared coldly at me. I swear, he was looking right into my eyes. I hate him. Actually, I don’t hate; I just very much dislike. He makes me think of the devil.
Wow. What. The devil? Really? What. WHAT.
I… I… I don’t actually have enough “what”s for that bit. I’m all out of “what”s.
Where to start? First of all… “the devil.” Do I really need to reiterate, YET AGAIN, that this is supposed to be Atlantis in the year 10,223 B.C., and that “the devil” was not really a thing back then. At least, not in the sense that modern-day people think of him.
Second… Jordan. Really? “I don’t hate him. I JUST THINK HE’S SATAN.”
I’d just like to emphasize, again, that our dear H.O.V. hasn’t actually done anything really villainous so far in this story (much like our I.S.P. hasn’t done anything really sexy yet either). Let’s make a list of everything old Slinky’s done so far:
1. He helped bring in a bunch of new servants to the palace, just like Alex and Sarai did. Okay.
2. He sternly told the hundreds of new recruits that if they caused any trouble he’d report them to the authorities. (Which Jordan made sound really oppressive, but actually seems like a completely reasonable thing to do, honestly.)
3. He looked kinda shady while doing so.
4. He has a horse named Puzzle—which, I’m sorry, is still freaking adorable.
5. He’s the archbishop of a religion that Jordan clearly disagrees with.
6. He has assured everyone that the deity most of them worship will stop the rain and fix everything. (Which seems like both an attempt to comfort people and also just something any archbishop would be expected to say.)
7. He informed everyone of the death count from the flood.
8. He lectured everyone about how they were lucky to be alive.
9. He gave Jordan the stink-eye for some unexplained reason. (Or at least, Jordan thought he did.)
10. He looks kinda like a rat.
11. His name is Slinei when everyone else has names like “Jordan” and “Alex” and “Isabel.”
And… that’s pretty much it. So, so far, the only reason he qualifies as the villain is because of his name and his looks, because he believes in a bad religion, and because he doesn’t seem to like Jordan.
That… doesn’t seem like good enough reason to call him the devil.
Jordan, hey. D’you ever consider the possibility that maybe… maybe he’s just a regular dude trying to do his job, who just happens to have been born a little rat-faced and with an unfortunately slimy-sounding name? Hm? Just because you don’t like his religion doesn’t mean he’s evil incarnate.2
And maybe he wasn’t actually giving her the stink-eye here—maybe she’s just imagining that he was, because she’s FREAKING PARANOID (as we’ve already established by the fact that she worries about literally everyone she knows trying to read her diary).
Or, maybe Slinky just doesn’t realize what his face looks like and sometimes accidentally gives people the stink-eye. Maybe he was really trying to give her a look of meaningful encouragement? Look, I don’t know. Maybe he was giving her the stink-eye, but only because someone lied to him and told him that it was Jordan who taped the “Kick Me” sign to his back the other day. Or maybe it’s just because he just found out that she refers to him as “Slinky” behind his back.
I’m just saying, Slinei seems less like the devil and more like the socially awkward guy who got pushed into lockers and shoved into toilets back in Atlantis high school.
EwwwOooh! Just thinking about Slinky sends chills down my spine. He is very evil.
Or hey, here’s an idea, Jordan: maybe the reason he keeps giving you the stink-eye is because you are not at all subtle about your whole “I think you might be the devil” attitude towards him? Hm? Did you ever think about that? People can typically sense that sort of thing, you know.
Ana is Naryphn. I asked her,
but atand she said she was.
Well. So glad we got that cleared up. I was really on the edge of my seat there.
Sometimes we talk to each other in Naryphn. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone in my own language again.
I found out where Robert was.
Nah. Just glad you’re here. Hey, could you say “as you wish” again?
Hooray, Robert’s back! Yes, please. Give me more Robert. In fact, could we just make this whole story about him instead of Jordan? I’d be totally on board with that.
So, what has our beautiful stable boy been up to this whole time?
He was in the temple with everyone else. He just stayed longer because he was talking to Miranda, Slinky’s daughter.
Wha…? Hey, wait—what? What’s this? WHO IS THIS CHICK?!
Uh-oh! UH-OH!!! Wait—no! No, Little Me! No! Don’t do this to me! DON’T TAKE AWAY MY #JORBERT!!!
She about one year older than me, and a lot nicer than her father. She must take after her mother(who would marry Slinky? Maybe she was betrothed to him).
Riiiiiiiiiiiggggghhhhhht. Because no one ever marries unattractive and/or bad people of their own free will. That’s crazy talk!
Also, I’m now picturing Slinky & Miranda as Doctor & Vanessa Doofenschmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. I’M GOING WITH THIS YOU CAN’T STOP ME.
I think Robert likes her (in a different way
thatthan how he likes me). Robert won’t be able to see her when we get back to Atlantis City, because Miranda is a Duchess. I feel sorry for him.
Huh? Oh, sorry. Don’t mind that sound. It’s just all my beautiful #Jorbert dreams going down the crapper.
Seriously, how could you do this to me, Little Me? How could you?!
YOU TOOK MY #JORBERT!
But it’s okay. No. No, it’s okay. I’ll be fine… I will.
*goes off into a corner and cries for a couple of hours*
Sigh. Oh well. You know what? This is good. Yeah. This is okay. Jordan kinda sucks anyway. Hot Robert can do way better, and Vanessa Doofenschmirtz was totally cool.
I can live with this. I can.
UGH NO! Who am I kidding? I wanted #Jorbert!!!
LITTLE ME, YOU CLEARLY DON’T KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR THESE CHARACTERS. IF YOU CAN’T SEE THAT JORDAN AND ROBERT BELONG TOGETHER, THEN YOU ARE NOT COMPETENT ENOUGH TO BE WRITING THIS STORY!
Am I overreacting? Meh. I don’t care. I want to wallow in the aftermath of my sunken ship.
Oh my God, I am shipping characters in a story I wrote like 15 years ago, and I’m mad because my past self just sunk my current self’s OTP. WHAT IS MY LIFE.
Okay. Let’s move on. But first, side note: Miranda is a Duchess? How the heck does that work? Her dad is the Archbishop, and she’s a Duchess? But… she’s not married (presumably), right?3 So if she doesn’t get that title through her dad or husband, then how is she a Duchess? Does she actually own land? Like, it’s hers and not her dad’s? HOW DOES THIS WORK?
I’m gonna chalk this one up to Little Me knowing basically nothing about peerage. I mean, I still don’t know much. But I know enough to be pretty confused right now.
I’m really bored. I think I’ll stop writing for today.
“Jeez, my life is just so uneventful! This boredom is the worst. I wish something really crazy would happen… like the whole continent just straight up being swallowed into the ocean! Man, that would be exciting. But what are the odds of that ever happening?”
1.↩ That we know of, anyway. But they are Atlantis, so I guess anything’s possible.
2.↩ Of course, the “sacrifices” thing is pretty, uh… problematic, to say the least. I’ll definitely give her that one. But one, we haven’t actually seen Slinei perform any alleged sacrifices, which kinda takes the punch out of that point; and two, It’s also not like the Bible doesn’t have it’s fair share of sacrifices, including human sacrifices. So blech, Little Me. This is the year 10,223 B.C. Literally everyone was sacrificing stuff back then. That doesn’t excuse it, of course, but it does make the shock and horror you were going for fall rather flat.
3.↩ Though that would make this whole thing with Robert suddenly a whole lot more interesting, wouldn’t it?