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The Way of Moderation has ended (page 566)

Posted Jul 9, '13 at 7:04pm

Strop

Strop

10,824 posts

Moderator

lol Harry Partridge, why am I not surprised. That style takes me all the way back to the 90s. Not sure they make them like that these days.

Yeah, connections would be good.

So too would finishing this epilogue. I'm on 80 hours this week, so it's only a slim chance, but I'm hoping Friday will give me the grace I need!

 

Posted Jul 10, '13 at 4:11am

Xzeno

Xzeno

2,082 posts

That picture of Leon is top-notch. Best to date. I really love it. Good to see art of him with he hood up, as that is what I imagine his default to be.

The rest of the credits were good too of course. Seriously, this was really well done. I seriously loved it. Except the end but whatever nobody's perfect. Anyway, no one should be surprised that my favorite part was the part with Leon. Everyone loves Leon... or that's what I thought until I saw this entire thread filled with things BESIDES angry demands for more Leon.

Freakin' traitors.

 

Posted Jul 10, '13 at 10:58am

Maverick4

Maverick4

3,707 posts

Now that I think about it, Mav is a near copy of Leon: Both have hoods, bows, a solitary nature...

Nice video, too. Should of had atleast seven or twenty pictures of Mav in it though. Oh well.

 

Posted Jul 13, '13 at 8:24am

Strop

Strop

10,824 posts

Moderator

Well, here it is folks. The last update of the Way of Moderation.

I was tempted to delay it another day so I could draw a cover page for the epilogue. Then I figured... well, it wasn't actually necessary. The words say enough.

Though this does deprive a few new and current characters of their cameo appearance. But not to worry, that's something that will be realised later.

---

Time To Go

It wasn't as much what she said or how she said or when or what it meant. It was the look on her face when she said it, the way she looked away and wouldn't look him in the eyes at all, how she had been avoiding his gaze since the left the reception for the cool, clear air of late summer with its smell of rich grass and dusty paths and the distinct whiff of new going on, despise the autumn waiting around the corner.
"I'm sorry, what?" He had heard what she said, he had even hesitated for a moment to try and grasp it all, but somehow the thoughts was making a mess of his head and his mind was crumbling up the way it did to exams, just... worse.
Not that he didn't understand where she was coming from, why she said it, why it was important to her. She had talked about it, the way you talk about a dream for the future, when you have more time or more money or no obligations. The same way he talked about animating, that distant longing mixed in with the realities that it would never happen and that it didn't matter as much as it perhaps should, because if it did matter that much, it would happen. Not in the future, but right now. A leap of faith somehow, except it always seemed more like stepping off a building and hoping that somehow you miss the earth rather than leaping and hope you hit the ground on the other side of the cliff of your hindrances.
Perhaps that was why it hurt so much, even though she had been preparing him for months, since he had come to her apartment with bruises and dried blood on his clothes and a stupid look on his face because he had tried to save her from someone who was never really the enemy, when he really should have been saving her from herself.
Why hadn't he done so?
Instead, as they stood there under the moon, in the empty streets, far from everyone else awake, the entire city with its new houses and new streets that still hadn't been finished, he could feel her slip away between his fingers.
Sai looked at Cen one last time.
"I'm leaving you."
And so she did.

---

Hello Goodbye

Some things change, and some things don't; the trick is knowing which is which. In the years gone by, the events of the Way of Moderation faded from memories, yet they stayed as vivid as ever in the minds of those who held them. Rather, it was the changing of faces, the gradual exodus through which the collective consciousness which apprehended the spectacle of an age ago was attenuated. The coming and going of generations of users and moderators alike inexorably progressed, until only the faintest of remnants in the form of wizened veterans were left.

Strangely enough, for all the posturing and intention to leave things at a suitable juncture, just one wizened veteran remained, that troublemaker, the eye of the storm, the wannabe-ninja horse Strop. Without intending to, he ended up being the longest residing citizen and moderator in the city (in any contiguous stretch, that was), having stumbled across it just weeks after the city had been declared open, and never abandoning his address within it in the years since. Even after he had lightened his duties to the point of being completely irrelevant, he was still around to witness the mod hurricane that was Cenere and Gantic, the resignation of Cenere after working himself way too hard, the almost militaristic regime that Cormyn established, Cormyn's sudden resignation for the sake of his family, the coming of the second dark age of lawlessness and frequent invasions of spam armies, of darkened and empty streets at times resembling a wintry ghost town, and finally the filling of the Community Administrator position by a small, slinky ferret. And while Carlie and John's happily ever after had only just begun, John had sent shockwaves of disbelief through the community when he tendered his resignation as Developer to Dan, and moved to a newer city. All this, while the promised new land drew closer, but never quite materialised to the public eye.

As peculiar as the details were, the cycles turned like the Earth on its axis, or even the Earth in its orbit around the sun, like the seasons. And in the tentative spring time of the land of ArmorGames, the moderation team had both almost completely switched around and come full circle, for the old guard in the form of his predecessors Asherlee and Moegreche had returned, but the rest of the lineup had changed to include a barbarian (whom Strop thought looked like a giant, jolly version of Dank), a Texas Ranger (who was also a monkey), and an eccentric European (or two, in fact, but one of them looked more like a log of wood wearing a hat, was this some eerie reprise to Estel's people?). Along with them, the laws had changed, the unspoken mystique of moderation so irrevocably altered, that Strop found himself out of touch, as if looking at his title as a foreigner, yet at the same time glad that things had moved on almost without him. The land was in safe hands, and better yet, he didn't have a hand in it.

The biggest difference was, his existence was no longer as solitary as the dubious honour of being practically part of the furniture of Armor Castle suggested. Mod or not, he had friends, and friendly faces which greeted him wherever he went. It was a far cry from the Strop who scurried through the city gates under the cover of darkness, clad in all black. And so it was today that he was walking up the Main Street, bags in hand, and-

"You're not in your ninja clothes today," Cenere said from out of nowhere.

Strop barely managed not to startle, then turned to look at Cen. "Yeah no, I'm not." Now suddenly conscious of the fact, he started smoothing his hands over his vest and dress shirt. "This is my working gear. You know, for doctoring."

"Haven't you already been doctoring for two years?"

Strop glared at Cen. "You could at least offer to carry some of my bags."

Cen actually smiled at this, although it was more like an evil smile of taking candy from a baby: "I'm not strong like you. I don't know if I could carry what you've got in there given you've been packing them for like three ye- oof!"

The "oof" was because Strop had just thrown one of his bags at Cen. A lack of crater with Cen sprawling at the bottom of it was proof enough that there wasn't really all that much in it.

"Anyway, I guess you'll be going now." Cen readjusted his glasses. Strop blinked.

"Yeah. Actually, that reminds me." He fiddled momentarily:

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/epilogue1_zps2f1ff89d.png

"Much better."

With that, he hoisted his bags over his shoulder and started walking again, before he paused. "Anyway, how come you're back? You quit ages ago."

Cen waved dismissively, "Oh, I was just dropping by. Seeing how things were going. You know."

For some reason, Strop found himself chuckling. "Yeah. I know."

The gate clanged shut behind Strop, and declared him logged out. Was it for the last time? Surely not, like Cenere, and many of the other veterans, there would always be something drawing him back. This place was, at least at some point in time, a place that they all called home, even if they had originated from yonder, and had moved on or even gone back to said yonder. Whether they too would return to visit, like Cenere had, was up to them. In his case, an occasional visit really didn't represent much of a change at all from the usual programming.

No, the real difference was that his ninja suit was in one of the bags at his side. Maybe someday, he might don the mask again and soar over rooftops once more in the quest for great justice. But he didn't know when, nor did he need to, because right now, more than ever, he knew where he was going, and what he had to do, and the very first thing out of all of those, was to put one hoof in front of the other. And in his heart of hearts he hoped that maybe a seed of this same determination had started to sprout in the lives that had been touched, or rather, sucked in, chewed up and spat out by the madness that was the Way of Moderation.

After all, one could always hope.

The Way of Moderation Epilogue: Team Edward or Team Leon?

“Hey Ed.” Leon said, stepping into the clearing. His shining armor and dark blue cloak stood out against the green-brown backdrop of the forest. Beneath a tree sat what one could only describe frankly as Bruce Lee with an octopus for a head. He wore black pants and kung fu shoes with a black and red sash. His muscular chest was bare, rising and falling with his breath.
“Oh, hey Leon.” he said cheerily. With one hand planted on the ground, he kicked his legs up, spinning before landing on his feet. “Shmancy armor. It new? Where'd you get it?” Marley bounced from behind Leon, panting happily as he dashed around the clearing with mad glee. He skidded to a halt before Ed, sniffing the aberration with vigor.
“Eh.” Leon replied. “I had some blacksmith make it. I thought I'd need it for a job. I guess I can use it if we ever need to seem all law and order-y. Looks like Marley's happy to see you.” Edward Squidlypus stroked his tentacles in thought.
“Marley, huh?” Ed noted, patting the dog. “Surprised he remembers me.”
“Well it is the same one.” Leon replied soberly.
“But Marley?” Ed pressed. “Feeling nostalgic?” Leon sniffed, looking up.
“I met the minotaur too. Bull Man.” Leon added.
“Metal Bull Man?” Ed volunteered.
“No.” Leon replied simply. Ed kicked at the grass.
“I like the green better. The blue goes with the sword, though.” Ed said finally.
“Oh, yeah, this old thing.” Leon shrugged looking at the sword in his hand. “Figured I'd try my hand at swordsmanship, you know. Goes with the getup. Got a new bow too.” Leon pulled the bow out and held it toward Ed half-heartedly. “It's cool too I guess.”
“Yeah.” Ed said. They both looked around absentmindedly. Leon listened to the birds sing. An undulating chorus of melodic notes filled his ears, pierced by the occasional sharp, piercing cry. Leon's mind drifted, focus shifting from the sweet song to those fierce squawks, half daydreaming urgent messages the birds needed to share. Then he considered not so much the noises but the space between the noises, the rhythm of the silence lulling him into a trance. With a renewed sense of emptiness, he thought of the Bull Man.
“He didn't have his skeleton with him.” Leon stated. “The paladin I mean.”
“Can hardly fight without that thing!” Ed laughed, teasing Marley with a stick.
“You didn't see her, did you?” Leon asked. Ed stopped for a moment and closed his eyes. Taking slow, deep breaths, he sifted through the memories he had collected in the last few months. “Guess not.” he answered finally, shrugging. Leon nodded, shaking loose his idle curiosity. As he pushed any concern he possessed about the minotaur's movements and plans from his mind, he felt himself connect to the earth beneath his feet. He felt vaguely aware of how silly it was to remain dressed up as an Armor Games moderator candidate. From the outside, such a sentimentality might seem appropriate, but to Leon McAcid, the land of Armor Games never even existed.
“Didja find anything for me?” Ed asked jovially. His inane inquiry brushed against Leon's mind, melding perfectly with his glimpse of nature. “Maybe some boots of jumping real high?” Ed launched himself into the air, performing gratuitous somersaults before floating gently back to the ground.
“Pretty bad treasure overall.” Leon replied.
“Oh.” Ed said, dejected. “I just though that maybe in whatever chest where you got your armor...”
“I told you” Leon growled “I got it made by a blacksmith.” Ed's mind spun, trying to make sense of Leon's words.
“You had to pay for it?” Ed moaned. “What fresh injustice is this?” Leon shrugged, armor shining brightly in the sun. He watched the grass wave in the wind, each ripple showing him an ocean of gold. For just a moment, he thought of what life would be like had the orc cut the purse all those years ago, rather than smashing the jar with a pointy little rock. Then he remembered he didn't care about stuff. For all he cared the grass could meet the back of his metal hand. He was the metal man. He was empty inside, and he was ready to tell natural scenery what was what.
“Leon McAcid!” Ed shouted, bark flying as his fist smashed into a tree. Leon nodded slowly, sheathing his sword. Ed slowly lowered his hand as silence once again filled the clearing, the panting of Leon's hyena serving as the only source of sound. Leon coughed once. Ed flexed a bit.
“So what's new with you?” Leon asked finally.
“Oh. You know. Enlightenment.”
“Oh.” Leon nodded. “What's that like?”
“Eh.” Ed shrugged. “Boundless wisdom.”
“Cool.” Wordlessly, the two of them stood side by side and began to walk.
Green cape flapping in the wind behind him, Leon plodded through the tall yellow grass, chest barely visible above it. Marley bounced merrily behind them as Edward showed off his newest handstand.
“Oh, Leon, I forgot to ask!” Ed said. “Where've you been, anyway?” Leon walked in silence another couple of feet.
“You know, that was never adequately explained.” he said finally, voice trailing off as they headed into the horizon.

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/epilogue2_zps361ccd74.png

 

Posted Jul 13, '13 at 8:38am

Strop

Strop

10,824 posts

Moderator

omg fail last post. I am a bad person. I forgot Marley.

Here's the amended image, as the other one is going to disappear shortly:

http://i438.photobucket.com/albums/qq105/strawpony/epilogue2_zps8daa6e5b.png

 

Posted Jul 13, '13 at 9:11am

Strop

Strop

10,824 posts

Moderator

...while I'm here, you probably wonder what's going to happen to this thread, now that it isn't going to get any more updates. Thanks to that unannounced "indefinite hiatus" period spanning most of last year, readership has dwindled to the point where I think not many people are left, so we don't have to worry about people spamming the thread with off-topic messages. So I guess I'll leave the thread open and let it be, unless some idiot decides to spam or necro it once it dies.

What I will do is add in a bit more detail about what happens next. I would also like Cenere to leave a comment, but Cenere lacks internet for the next few days, so I'll just start with myself:

1) As alluded to in the fiction, I plan to take a temporary formal hiatus from AG. This means I would actually like to relinquish the title of moderator for the time being because, well, I've not been doing much at all to warrant it LOL. It's been so long since I played an active part of shaping the community's culture that I've felt that I'm virtually irrelevant as a moderator, and in a way it's not right when in effect I'm not pulling any weight.

Now that the WoM is finished, I have to concentrate entirely on studying for my specialty exams. They're majorly difficult, and if I fail, I have to wait an entire year before I can sit them again, which is a drag. Since they take place from February through to August, I'm going to be mostly away for at least a year. What this means in reality is that I'll probably go back to sporadically posting horse girls in my sporadic scrapbook as a form of procrastination. Though now I don't have to put off doing the WoM, I might draw a whole range of other things. Who knows.

2) I have mentioned before that this version of the WoM is a draft. In fact, I think I mentioned it right from the outset, so I guess now is a good time to reiterate. This was a casting call of sorts, as well as the chance to indulge and kind of limber up. Some of us got a lot of practice and developed skills, skills which can then be put to use: the casting call was for that too. See, the vision is eventually to build a team which can then go and extract the best essence of the WoM and figure out how to package it. It's going to be tightened, more focused, and also more fleshy. With more control we won't have to resort to sudden plot jumps and externalities, we can build a more cohesive storyline to convey real commentary about the history and preoccupations of this community. Right now, my personal preference would be to someday build a 2-season animated series, but that's a long way off.

3) Before that, I want to take a break from the WoM. I can safely say that Cenere also does. We have other projects, both together and separate. My next focus will be a novel that I've been itching to write for 4 years, and now (or rather, after physician exams) is my chance. After that, I'll be starting to draw a series of strips about the life of a doctor. You may see some revised WoM concept sketches and trying to nut out a consistent style. But there's no telling when.

That's all I have to say at the moment. Just for fun though, I'll add this: Strop the ninja was always secretive about his personal details. Since Strop is pretty much a self-insert, I'm going to remove my proverbial ninja mask, and open the floor to personal questions about me. I'll answer as much as is prudent (and reasonable), so have at it if you want!

 

Posted Jul 13, '13 at 10:30am

daleks

daleks

3,299 posts

Stroppy! That almost made me cry. Poor Cen. Who is Ed? I probably should remember and he seems familier but hey, I cannot remember it all.

Anyway! Is your test like the MCAT or something? Either way good luck! I bet you will do fine. I get why you have to leave even though I don't want you too.

I will email you though mate. Ask you questions there. So check your email in the next few days!

 

Posted Jul 13, '13 at 11:28am

Strop

Strop

10,824 posts

Moderator

Is your test like the MCAT or something?

Nooooo way more advanced. It's like, MRCP... except due to differences in the system, FRACP exams are harder than MRCP. It balances out, because in the UK, as a doctor, you work waaaaaay harder than you do in Australia :P

 

Posted Jul 13, '13 at 11:12pm

Zahz

Zahz

48 posts

Who is Ed?

You know, that was never adequately explained.

 

Posted Jul 14, '13 at 3:18am

Strop

Strop

10,824 posts

Moderator

Leon mentions Ed once or twice in the course of the story, usually when he's about to go off on some tangent that Strop isn't really interested to hear, because he's trying to get Leon to actually answer one of his questions for once. So every time Leon mentions Ed, Strop cuts him off, and that's probably why you can't remember him: he doesn't have any notable features other than his name.

That is to say, Ed truly was never adequately explained.

 
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