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Kevaar
Member
25 Sep 2003

Location: Colorado, USA

(Submission for a new ingame book! Intended to be a Velothi fable. I'm not attached to the title, so suggestions on that welcome.)

The Pilgrim in Pain

A pilgrim was walking down a rough dirt road. Rocks poked out of the road at irregular intervals. The pilgrim, tired from his long journey, finally stumbled and stubbed his toes on one.

His toes hurt very badly from being stubbed thus, and the pilgrim came upon a thought. "If I did not have toes, I would not have toes to stub." He looked down at the offending toes. "I am sorry, but you are causing me pain, and so therefore you must go, so I will no longer be troubled by you." And the pilgrim took out his hunting knife and cut off his toes.

The pilgrim continued on his journey, but without his toes, he found it harder to keep his balance. Soon he stumbled again and fell to the ground. He flung out a hand to catch himself, and the hand was cut on one of the sharp rocks. Wincing, he looked at the blood welling up from his palm.

"If I did not have a hand, I would not have a hand to be cut and bleed," thought the pilgrim. "I am sorry, hand, but you are causing me pain, and therefore, you must go." So the pilgrim cut off his hand and continued on his way.

The pilgrim continued to walk down the road, which was getting rougher, and he had to slow down to almost a crawl to keep from tripping again. He turned a corner in the road and came upon his wife.

The wife began to rail at him in the way wives do--why were you late for dinner? Why do we no longer spend time together? Where is that money for the debt collector you promised you would pay off two months ago? Why are you bleeding?

She ranted and raved so much that the pilgrim closed his eyes in pain. "Wife," he finally said. "You are causing me too much pain, and therefore you will have to go." So he killed his wife, cutting her out of his life, and continued on his way.

As he continued his walk, he found that the combined pain from the missing toes, hand, and wife was becoming unbearable. He was confused, because he couldn't understand why such things were paining him, if they were no longer a part of him.

"It is my heart that feels this pain," he said to himself. "If I did not have a heart, I would no longer feel pain."

"I am sorry, heart," said the pilgrim, looking down at his chest. "But you are causing me pain, and therefore you must go."

And so the pilgrim cut out his heart, and with his lifeblood spilling out, he soon collapsed and died. And so the pilgrim learned that pain is a necessary part of life.


Last edited by Kevaar on Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:05 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Great story, Kevaar. I only have a few recommendations for tweaking the language. For starters, I would replace all uses of the word "I'm" with "I am" - not abbreviating fits a formal, narrative story better.
Quote:
The pilgrim, being tired from his long journey
Change to "The pilgrim, tired from his long journey" - the word "being" here is unnecessary.
Quote:
His toes hurt very badly from being stubbed thus
I don't really see a need to explain why the pilgrim's toes hurt. That's self-evident from the preceding paragraph.
Quote:
but he found that without toes it was harder to keep his balance
"but he found it harder to keep his balance without toes" reads slightly better to me.
Quote:
why were you late for dinner? Why do we no longer go out together? Where is that dress you promised me two months ago?
The phrasing here immediately stood out to me. Going out. Buying dresses. It sounds too modern. I would replace these with his wife complaining about him being gone on his pilgrimage for too long, and list off all the household tasks he hasn't performed in his absence.
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-Head of NPCs: Skyrim: Home of the Nords
Post Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:16 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



Really nice piece of writing. The lesson learnt from this text reflects something well within the scope of Dunmer values, and the concise style in general is becoming.


However, I agree that this...
Kevaar wrote:
The wife began to rail at him in the way wives do--why were you late for dinner? Why do we no longer go out together? Where is that dress you promised me two months ago?
...needs to go. I agree with Yeti that it sounds too modern, like something out of the 1940s, and also it echoes a type of misogynism that I can't recall ever being portrayed as something belonging to either Dunmer culture or the world of TES overall. This is easily remedied, though.
The character of the pilgrim needn't be explicitly gendered, even: within the Dunmer temple, females and males would be equally likely to set out on a pilgrimage, and religious texts would likely be aimed at all genders without any preference either way. And in that case, the "wife" of the tale would become, simply, the "spouse".

Suggested complaints: "Where were you when we salted the yearling hides, where were you when we pulped the merrow-stalks, where were you when we set to comberries to ferment?"
Post Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:44 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

EJRS wrote:
[...] and also it echoes a type of misogynism that I can't recall ever being portrayed as something belonging to either Dunmer culture or the world of TES overall. [...]
I actually felt that bit was not without precedence. That being said, I do agree that the language sounds too modern as it is now, which I'd completely overlooked. I also agree that the pilgrim would work just as well without a specified gender, but I read the text as describing a specific character rather than a generic pilgrim; it's not saying that pilgrims are men, but rather that this pilgrim happens to be a man.
Post Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:25 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



Gnomey wrote:
[...]I actually felt that bit was not without precedence.


The extensive litterature of TES strikes again! I hadn't read that one. While of absolutely cringeworthy quality, it is indeed a book from the game. However, what you point at as being misogynistic in that book is a very different, and a great deal softer thing than the lines i pointed out from The Pilgrim in Pain: while the pun of the former is that the wife of the main character of they story nags a lot, she is mentioned only as that one specific character. TPIP says that wives in general - not 'spouses' but specifically 'wives', that being the female form of a spouse - nag a lot, in a rather matter-of-fact as if that is something that is expected to be generally agreed on as a fact of life. While Silence in a rather lazy way plays on a sexist trope from our own popular culture, TPIP makes a much more explicit statement of this.

Thus, I think it is unneccesarily misogynistic, especially since it does not really carry any significant point to the story to be so and can be easily avoided.



Gnomey wrote:
I also agree that the pilgrim would work just as well without a specified gender, but I read the text as describing a specific character rather than a generic pilgrim; it's not saying that pilgrims are men, but rather that this pilgrim happens to be a man.

Problem is, I think it can be safely assumed that we all come from cultures with distinct traditional gender roles with a varying degree of patriarchal slant. There is a very apparent tendency to unconciously conform characters to these roles when we write up the fiction of TR (i.e. characters tend to 'just happen' to have roles corresponding to traditional western gender roles), as is the case with the original TES3 as well. I think this is something we should strive to avoid, in part because it is a pretty nasty cultural luggage we carry, right up there with colonialism and racism, and in part because the TES3-universe does not necessarily share these assigned gender roles.

So I think it would be nice to either invert the genders of the characters of the story if they necessarily need be gendered, for the sake of balancing this out a bit, or simply make them ungendered and, at least to me, make it mesh a bit better and more beleivably with dunmer culture.
Post Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:18 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Kevaar
Member
25 Sep 2003

Location: Colorado, USA

Posting this first, then editing the story next.

I'm not going to get into the gender debate. If it helps, I'm a woman IRL (the masculine username is taken from a character I play). I've had the good fortune to never be a target of sexism--that or I've not been bothered by it the times I have. Whichever; as a woman, the only gender debate I care about in a video game is that the women not be ridiculously booby or only present as seductionists or damsels in distress. Which Morrowind doesn't do. There's seductionists and damsels, sure, but plenty of other archetypes, too. Morrowind excels at being a living breathing world, but that's partly because the ickier parts of life aren't whited out. For that reason, I'm not going to change the genders or make them neutral for Real Life political correctness.

What I will touch on is whether or not the dress comment fits into the Dunmer culture. I think that's a pretty valid criticism to make, and I'm trying to think of something a Dunmer wife WOULD complain about. Things I could see them being responsible for (whether or not because of their gender): finances, overseeing the slaves, whatever Dunmer do for their aristocratic social gatherings (not balls?), or if they're a poor-er family, various chores around the house.

So perhaps a comment along the lines of "when are you going to pay off that debt?" It's a folktale, and a religious one at that, so it should be something fairly universal to Dunmer of all social classes. So while I like the suggested lines about the crops, I'm not sure if it would apply to Dunmer in the higher social classes enough to work. They've got slaves to worry about that kind of thing!

Now to editing--

EDITEDITEDITEDITEDITEDITEDIT

Quote:
The pilgrim, tired from his long journey...

"Being" removed as suggested.

Quote:
The pilgrim continued on his journey, but without his toes, he found it harder to keep his balance.

Phrasing changed to be a little less clunky.

Quote:

The wife began to rail at him in the way wives do--why were you late for dinner? Why do we no longer spend time together? Where is that money for the debt collector you promised you would pay off two months ago? Why are you bleeding?

The wife monologue adjusted. "Going out" changed to "spending time together", and the dress changed to a comment about debt. Phrasing is a bit awkward still.

Finally, contractions removed in multiple places.
Post Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:13 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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