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The Way of Moderation has ended (page 566)

Posted Jun 4, '13 at 8:33am

Xzeno

Xzeno

2,354 posts

What, you want to SEE it? I'll send it whenever I next turn on my laptop.

 

Posted Jun 4, '13 at 10:30am

Strop

Strop

11,086 posts

Moderator

Technically it comes after the end of the WoM, but just because we finished the WoM('s main story) doesn't mean we won't be looking at post-WoM supplementary material. Or posting our own. Since we have like a "whatever happened to" slideshow that needs doing and stuff.

I have several pictures to draw, but my scene is otherwise done. Most likely what will happen is that I won't be able to leave well enough alone and will end up also writing a story to go with the final scene of the main plot, which will probably only end up getting done AFTER the 4th anniversary of the WoM's inauguration. Cen won't know of my wavering resolve to "just get it over and done with" until he reads, er, this post. But hopefully he won't care, since he won't be doing that writing.

 

Posted Jun 4, '13 at 3:17pm

Freakenstein

Freakenstein

9,589 posts

Moderator

I feel not-so-time-weary on my account now that I came to the repeated realization that this thread is older than my account.... Well that just means we're gonna have to make another MWT-esque adventure! I like to imagine that past contestants of other tournaments are viciously and forcibly warped out their already-experienced dimension to partake in another. If they so choose, of course >

 

Posted Jun 5, '13 at 4:05pm

Nurvana

Nurvana

2,600 posts

"Coming back every few months just to check the over-under of one page of progress"

 

Posted Jun 6, '13 at 1:04am

Hectichermit

Hectichermit

1,463 posts

Knight

Happy Birthday WoM
http://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh255/hectichermit/WoMbday_zps35259d30.png

4 years of real time is like 28 years in internet forum thread time...

its a special cake made by me , its free side effects for all!

 

Posted Jun 6, '13 at 2:58am

Xzeno

Xzeno

2,354 posts

Sent it.

spamspamspamspamspamspamspam

 

Posted Jun 6, '13 at 4:23pm

Gantic

Gantic

11,129 posts

Moderator

I suppose if this were at the top of page 500 instead of the bottom of page 561, today would also be D-Day.

 

Posted Jun 6, '13 at 4:50pm

Strop

Strop

11,086 posts

Moderator

Thanks Xzeno.

I can't yet update because I haven't drawn the pictures for it. There are about six of them.

However I can tell you that most of the pictures for the remaining scenes of the main story have been completed. So too, after staying up all night (with an interlude in which I watched the original Robocop because I was looking to make a reference), has the writing. I won't tell you what's in it, but I can say that I'm not looking to pull any fast ones. With any luck, I'll be done by the end of the long weekend (in Australia).

 

Posted Jun 10, '13 at 11:22am

Strop

Strop

11,086 posts

Moderator

SO I'm having a bit of trouble moving past this chapter, but hey, I've done most of the images now, so once I clear the bottleneck, it'll be plain sailing until the final scene!

WE LAST LEFT THE SCENE with Leon just having been declared MVP of the tournament. Naturally the crowd assumes he'll be made moderator. But why is Strop hesitating?

---

A New Era

Strop had gone to the trouble of chasing down the now-elusive finalists, preoccupied as they were with rebuilding (or not rebuilding) their livelihoods, to figure out their, and therefore in a way, his plans.

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/Way%20Of%20Moderation/13-1_zps9665544b.png

"Yeah the tournament was pretty fun and all," Chill had commented, while blowing another sheet of ice onto the beginnings of some monolith as esoteric as it was transient. "It was really challenging, and I learnt a lot." He then paused to turn away and blow some more ice on his foundation, and when he looked back at Strop:

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/Way%20Of%20Moderation/13-2_zpsa64ab770.png

"Well no not really," he laughed. "But I did meet a few cool people."

It was a similar story with Frank, who had been patching a somewhat less esoteric airship in the Construction Zone. His stubble growing longer than usual left him with a weary-looking seven-o-clock shadow that matched his bleary eyes.

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/Way%20Of%20Moderation/13-3_zpsd5b1733c.png

"Home is where the heart is," Frank said. "That's what I realised. And mine lies in adventure. And the people I have them with. Mainly the people." With that, he banged a few more nails into the hull of the cabin.

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/Way%20Of%20Moderation/13-4_zps5692d3c5.png

"Of course I miss the old AG," remarked Crimson, from the remains of his keep. "But times are changing, so I'll go where my friends go and see what happens I guess. Did you know we're starting a new crew?"

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/Way%20Of%20Moderation/13-5_zpsca2ab059.png

"I thought I'd go back and see my family again," Manta mused between stacking (as many) bricks (as he could possibly handle at once). "It's been a pretty crazy last few weeks and, I dunno, I guess I should see how they're doing after it all." Then he flashed a cocky grin. "Fun tournament, though."

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/Way%20Of%20Moderation/13-6_zps95439662.png

"...so it's time to spread my wings and fly again, I suppose. What with my house flattened and all," Pixie said with a rueful smile. "There's nothing left for me here." Indeed it was a sentiment shared by many in the wake of such devastation.

Strop had left those conversations with a certain resignation and yet a certain desperation. But in a way he had anticipated all of these responses, for what else was there to conclude, everything being said and done in abundance in the endless iterations of post-mortem analyses. Yet, characteristically, none of his exit interviews shook him so much, as his interview with Leon, in the usual secluded corner of the song and dance of the Tavern.

The Way of Moderation: Interview 2: Live by the Leon

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/Way%20Of%20Moderation/13-7_zps5ff65466.png

written by Xzeno

Strop pushed open the doors of the tavern. Hooves falling heavily on the hard wood floor, Strop looked around the dingy tavern, acutely aware of the eyes on him. They stared at him, unflinching as the tavern doors creaked behind him, swinging freely. The room came with him as he crossed the floor, not even looking up as one of the doors fell off its hinges in his wake. Strop winced. He hadn't particularly felt like a ninja much this week, and the tension in the room made him feel less so. Even his target, he noted with some surprise, stared him down intently.
Leon sat in a corner, head bowed, glass of amber liquid held delicately in his claw. His eyes reflected yellow from under the shadow of his hood. He was alone, the only one at the bar with a table all to himself.
âYou certainly look mysterious.â Strop noted as he took a seat.
âEvening.â Leon snorted, swishing his liquor around in the glass. Even in the dingy, dark corner, he noticed that Leon's cape was tattered and his armor impossibly shiny. It must have been a sight, Strop thought, to see the gnoll of all people strolling down the ruined street in shining silver armor while Strop himself still carried the weight of the battle with dark-eyed weariness. He decided, then, to start with the obvious.â
âYour armor looks good as new.â he observed.
âI had it repaired after the battle.â Leon shrugged.
âAnd yet you can't be bothered to patch up your classic green number.â Strop pressed.
âCall me sentimental.â Leon exclaimed, drawing his head up, amber eyes twinkling at Strop from under his hood. Strop blinked. Leon stared at him expectantly. Strop cocked his head to the side. Leon squinted, then looked away.
âAnyway...â the gnoll continued, âwhat brings you to this fine establishment? Don't you have work to do?â Strop rubbed his eyes.
âMore than you know, Leon. And tying up loose ends is part of that.â Strop replied.
âWell that shouldn't be too hard!â Leon barked. âIn fact, I think I saw a couple loose ends pass through here not too long ago.â Strop smiled mirthlessly. Lean sunk back in his chair and took a long drink.
âSo what's up?â he asked seriously. Strop looked him in the eye.
âGuess it's over, huh?â Strop mused.
âI guess.â Leon agreed. âI haven't really been paying attention recently.â
âHard to blame you,â Strop sighed âbut I figured you'd be used to the chaos.â
âWell, the ability to follow along and the will to do so are two discrete entities!â Leon clarified, raising a finger.
âYou know, Leon, I never did quite figure out where your loyalties lay.â Strop confessed. âIt seems you're with me one minute and against me the next.â Leon raised an eyebrow.
âWhy do you think that is?â the gnoll mused.
âI don't know.â Strop sighed âYou seem very anti-authoritarian.â
âI'm not.â Leon said with a chipper smile. âNot the way you're thinking, anyway. I mean I am. It's complicated.â
âWell, I just mean to say that-â
âHere, let me tell you a story.â Leon cut in. âYou know I'm a hunter and a jeweler. And a warrior. But I am also an herbalist and a keeper of lore. I'll explain the role of archers in gnoll tribal culture sometime.â Strop blinked as Leon smiled expectantly. He cleared his throat.
âWell it would be interesting to learn about where yo-â Strop began.
âRight, the story. Do you remember that elf you were trying to pick up during the ninth round?â Leon asked.
âI wasn't trying to pick her up!â Strop protested.
âThat's a shame. You'd be right to go for it: those elves are quite kind to their horses.â Leon cackled. âAnyway, where was I... Once upon a time a young elf met a human. This human was of such radiant beauty, such sharp intellect and such magnetic charm that the elf was awestruck. Although it was their first meeting, she knew at that moment she desired nothing more than have that human's hand.
âTheir love, you must understand, was a fairy-tale. As though foretold by the stars and as deep as any love could be. To this day, when young lovers make vows, they compare themselves to a love such as this, and know in their hearts that their love pales.
âThe human and the elf married without delay, because it was actually a pretty progressive culture back then. I mean, if you think about it, a cultural distaste for human/elf hookups makes a lot of sense, because one's pretty clearly gonna kick the bucket first. I mean, come on, heartbreak is inevitable. Like this one time, Edward and I were talking to this elf dude, and he had this giant riding crab, and when I say 'riding' I mean-â
âIs this story really essential to my understanding of your role in recent events?â Strop groaned. Leon adjusted his hood.
âI was going to spare you the gory details. And believe me, they're gory. Back to the story: They lived in peace for many years, desiring nothing more than one another. However, not all was to be at peace. On the elf's 50th birthday, she was summoned by an order of elfish priests. She was chosen, as it turned out, as their messiah. It was, in their dogma, her destiny to transcend the mortality of flesh and become one with nature.
âEvery day, she walked to the temple and meditated, following the priests' guidance as she opened her mind to the power they offered. And that's what ruins most love stories, isn't it, Strop? Power. Starcrossed lovers fall to the petty power struggles of men. But this was no petty power the elf was promised. Although she had only opened half of the mental gates the priests spoke of, the mightiest wizards turned their eyes for fear as she passed. She had the power to raze mountains, to boil seas, to calm storms, never knowing death nor age â" to heal or to kill, to to save the world or crush it.â Leon panted, gesticulating wildly. Strop raised an eyebrow. âWhen the time came for her apotheosis,â Leon continued âshe faced the hardest challenge of all. All that was left for her to do was transcend the bounds of her mortal life. To achieve unity with nature, she had to detach herself from material concern and all that tied her to the world.â Leon paused. âWould you be able to turn it down, Strop? All that power... even gods would fear you. The ability, the destiny to bring about a new world order shaped by your ideals. Would you trade that for true love? Could you?â Strop was silent. Leon stared at him intently.
âI don't... think so.â the horse replied at length.
âYou're **** right you wouldn't!â Leon roared, pounding a gauntlet on the table. âOh, but she could. She ran from the temple and never returned. She laid down the life of a god to live out the remainder of her years in bliss, with her love. To this day, when couples (or more, I don't judge) speak of love, they speak of the courage and purity of the elf's love and to this day there are monuments and festivals in her honor.â Leon finished, trying to snap his fingers with a cheery clang.
âSo what was the point of that, exactly?â Strop asked.
âThe point is that she chose wrong.â Leon growled suddenly, eyes dipping below his hood. âShe chose love over power. She had no right. What she did was not courage. It was selfish and petty. To live chose her own happiness when she was meant to save the world? Her name should be a curse! A lament to all the suffering we endure!â Strop sat stunned at Leon's furious outburst.
âIt wasn't her way. Love was not her path. It was her way to detach herself from all reality and become The Voice of Nature!â Leon exclaimed, illustrating each point by jamming a claw into the table. âAnd she blew it. She defied what was her path for the petty joys of love. Which would be a-okay if she was a lover. But she just wasn't. It wasn't her path. She was meant for that power. It was meant for her. That's the lesson of this story, Strop. A lot of people think it's 'choose love over power' or 'choose the world over your own happiness' but it's not. The point is that she made the wrong choice. The point is that she lost her way to preserve her love.â
âSo your way is anti-authoritarian, but you hold no grudges against authority?â Strop asked.
âIt is somewhat contradictory, I know,â Leon confessed, swishing his drink around âto simultaneously hold that your authority, your order, your very way of thinking is vile, dangerous, fit only for destruction and that it is necessary and good. But it makes sense, doesn't it? Conflicting beliefs are good. I wish to destroy authority, yes, but to ever do so is pointless, just as it is equally pointless for authority to destroy me. Different people think different things and that's just the way the cookie crumbles. The fact that we all fight for different things in a chaotic mess of pointless bloodshed is what makes us strong. Think about the trolls, huh? Was any of that worth fighting or dying for? What disagreement fueled it? It was pointless death and destruction.â Leon sat back in his chair. âAnd it's beautiful, isn't it? This disharmony. It what makes us what we are. I may hate your actions, loathe your thoughts and despise you for them, but I will never blame you. Not as long as you stay on your path. Ideals don't matter. Results don't matter. The path matters.â
Strop and Leon sat in silence as the minutes ticked by, each lost in their own thoughts.
âI think I'm gonna bounce.â Leon said.
âYeah, I know.â Strop answered. Another minute passed in silence. âMe too.â Another minute. âForever, I mean.â the pony continued. âI'm leaving the land of Armor Games and I'm not coming back.â Leon sipped his drink in glassy-eyed silence.
âYeah, I know.â

 

Posted Jun 12, '13 at 9:34am

Strop

Strop

11,086 posts

Moderator

We're rushing along the home stretch now. Expect updates nearly every day until the end unless I say otherwise!

---

A New Era (continued)

Strop jerked back to the present, the rhythmic roaring around him reforming into the chant, "LEON! LEON! LEON!" Sure enough, to his right, Leon stood, both expectantly grinning at him, yet with the posture of one who was expecting nothing at all. "Go on, then," he goaded.

A wordless glare was all Strop could and needed to shoot at Leon. With no other recourse left to him, he raised the 'fone, and blurted: "Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is, none of the candidates from this tournament will be made moderator."

Strop counted two seconds of stunned silence before the confused whispers turned into catcalls, shouted queries and finally a full blown outburst of indignation. Whatever happened to the taxpayer's money? Was this all a waste of time? Wasn't this supposed to be about the crowning of a new moderator? What about all the illegal betting on the outcome? After all, it seemed that some people had put good money on Manta being the dark horse (this comment made no sense at all to Manta, being a fish man). In a matter of moments, the arena threatened to break out into yet another riot.

"Beautiful, isn't it," Leon smirked, once again copping a glare from Strop, which might as well have reflected straight off his polished breastplate. Everybody else on stage, still weary from the prior conflicts, started slowly stepping back cautiously. And once again, Strop didn't really know what to do, only this time, he lacked the willpower and the confidence in his own authority to really try anyway. Silently he found himself wishing that somebody would turn up in a fanfare of trumpets and solve his problem for him.

As if on cue, a fanfare of trumpets erupted, piercing the angry noise of the arena. Attentions were grabbed and mouths silenced as an ornate carriage bearing the royal crest of Armor Games, flanked by an honour guard of unicorn cavalry rolled through the archway of the Amphitheatre, towing a strange, tall contraption hidden entirely by a velvet black curtain. Strop stared, dumbfounded, and stayed that way until before he knew it, Administrator Cormyn was divesting him of the 'fone.

"Hi everyone," he said, completely destroying the ceremonial tone that Strop had taken great pains to maintain up to this point. "We had some talks with Dan and agreed that the lack of active moderators was one of the most pressing issues we had to address as quickly as possible. We worked hard on a solution, and so now we are pleased to present to you, the repaired Wheel of Moderation!"

Strop finally noticed that His Highness, Daniel McNeely, had emerged from the carriage, and the honour guard, with their helmets off, were actually the entire development team. With half on each side of the covered cart, they whipped the velvet curtain off, revealing the Wheel of Moderation, just as it had been, except with a great deal many more names on it.

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/Way%20Of%20Moderation/13-8_zpsde539af9.png

As much as it was to take in for one moment, Strop found himself applauding the timing and impact of this move, for it had completely captured the audience at the height of their frenzy. In the tranquility of the now, which had seen Strop completely removed from the locus of control, was he now able to appreciate the beauty that Leon had spoken of. But then again perhaps that was only because he wasn't about to get lynched by about ten thousand angry AGers.

Meanwhile, Cormyn continued. "I understand that previously, the selection of a moderator was the subject of folklore and secretive tradition. But this is a changing community, and we have agreed that increased transparency is instrumental to our viability moving forward."

Strop noticed, at this very juncture, that every other moderator from older generations were curiously, or perhaps not surprisingly absent. Nemo, too, was also absent, and it was he who had most strongly promoted the so-called folklore and mystique. But as Cormyn said, the times were moving on.

"Therefore, we shall not delay any further. We shall spin the wheel now, and declare your new moderator henceforth!"

And just as they said, Dan walked up to the giant Wheel of Moderation, and gave it a kingly heave.

The silence was impressive, for the only sound in that full arena, was the whirring of the wheel, which slowed to a ticking, which eventually became an interminable "plink plink plink", until it finally stopped.

Everybody, even those right at the back of the arena, leaned forward to get a better look, but naturally, the text on the wheel being so darn small, it took a supadoopahawesometasticmegamegamagnifying glass for even Dan to be able to read the name that came up. But sure enough the Wheel had chosen.

"Our newest moderator in Armor Games is... Gantic!"

The silence went from electric to stunned, as everybody started looking around in confusion. Gantic? Who was this great being on whom the honour had suddenly been bestowed? It was a good half a minute before anybody bothered to look down, to discover that the great being happened to be a two-foot tall white rabbit who used Alligator Mouthwash, who was presently hopping his way down the aisle to the stage. Everybody stared as the diminutive new mod as he cleared the staircase in a single leap, and turned to them, adjusting his monocle as Cormyn handed the 'fone to him.

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/Way%20Of%20Moderation/13-9_zpsa4ce1a60.png

"Such is life." Gantic said.

The crowd blinked. In the background the lone maniacal laugh of a hyena could be heard. After a suitable pause, the rabbit turned to Cormyn. "Grant me a celery patch, and I'll patch this city up with celerity."

At first, there was a confused mumbling as the people tried to decipher the Gantique. Then they collectively decided to pretend that they understood it and roared with approval.

"Just so you know," Gantic said, just loud enough for only Strop to hear, while fixing him with what Strop could only feel was a disapproving look. "You will find that I am no lapine dog to your horseplay. Oh dear, what is the time, I'm late for my meeting!"

Hurriedly pocketing his wristwatch, he hopped off the stage and bolted towards the exit. As one, the entire audience rose and started piling down the stairs after the rabbit. As the crowd flooded the entryway, carrying their new hero on their collective shoulders, Strop was left, standing on the stage, completely alone, wondering about everything. Especially whether he really would give up true love for unlimited power, or his destiny, whatever that might be. And whatever true love might be, too, for that matter.

The arena looked so much larger when it was empty, but the perspective was warped by the presence of the thirty foot behemoth of a Wheel of Moderation, that had been abandoned in the wake of the last two minutes. Strop slowly walked up to it, running his hand over the restored woodgrain, and gazing at the almost indecipherable scrawl of names. He pushed at the lip of the bottom of the wheel, marvelling at how smooth the action of the turn was, and reflecting upon the mechanism the wheel concealed, which Devoidless had managed to overwhelm so long ago. For a minute, he stood there, fighting a rising urge in his chest, and took a hold of the wheel, firm enough to spin it...

...if he wanted to...

...or if he couldn't hold himself back.


* historical note: Gantic was actually modded by Carlie, and, as far as I can remember, prior to the commencement of Cormyn.

---

http://i428.photobucket.com/albums/qq1/Cerene_Cerine/img100_zps8af2b1f4.jpg

 
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