That was an incredibly fabulous experience. Thank you all for liking what I wrote and thank you all for writing/drawing 160 freaking pieces of work, Jesus H. Christ.
I ended up writing three fics. For abigcorpseparty, I wrote drawing out the season’s stains, which is species-swapped Rose<>Jade. The title is from Passion Pit’s “Little Secrets”. I have to thank odditycollector like twenty times over for commiserating, cheerleading, and betaing. My Ladystuck experience was basically the odditycollector radio show. NO REGRETS.
I also picked up two pinch hits! For scarfmouse, I wrote c’mon, grab your friends, which is Jade & Aradia on the Scratched Earth fighting plot-irrelevant monsters. I wanted to work in some things that were relevant to her interests, so I had them fight a rubbish lion, and then it sort of grew what I would arbitrarily refer to as a “plot”, and also “a juggernaut ship in my heart now actually”! Thanks to Harry for looking it over for gift acceptability.
For tartingshop, I wrote The Gardener, the Counselor, and the Sylph, which is a post-game myth for the planet that the kids and trolls eventually make. WHAT AN INCREDIBLY GOOD PROMPT. The prompt was for Rose/Kanaya/Jade, and it also asked for grand myth, and I’m very much afraid what I provided was “light myth with a gentle sampling of kisses”. And then I spent the rest of the week of Ladystuck fantasizing about all the WICKED AWESOME MYTHOLOGICAL ROLES PEOPLE COULD FIT INTO, 80% of which turned out to be about murrrderrrrrr, so that all goes under the cut. Warning: this is ridiculous.
I did come up with names for the other gods; Dave is the Wheelspinner, he’s Aradia’s friend and counterpart, and Aradia is the Waker. They are the servants of Life and Death, because what do you do with time powers really when fate is already covered by someone else? Life and Death are not gods but demons, a white one and a black one, and Aradia and Dave serve both equally, which is to say they rebel against both equally and occasionally punch them out. Generally speaking if you want someone to be chaperoned over the border from life to death or back, you call on the Waker, and if you’re doing something stupidly dangerous and you want to prevent it ending in your death (or your survival) you call on the Wheelspinner. The Waker also has dominion over dreams and the Wheelspinner has dominion over music and poetry, and birds.
Nooseweaver’s death comes about because after Death first enters the world, already wrestling with life, she decides to go and kill it. Terezi is Nooseweaver’s beloved mortal in the first world and she sees that killing death will kill life (or is swindled by Gamzee All-friend), and tries to bargain Nooseweaver out of killing the demon. First she wins Nooseweaver’s sword arm from her, and then her good eye. But at the last Nooseweaver finds that death has taken one of her mortal servants (Kanaya!), and she decides that she must give the demon a fight on its own terms, and pours all her light into Kanaya for safekeeping and goes off to kill it, except instead, Terezi kills her.
Depending on when in the history of the highlands country you ask, either John the Swindler takes her eyes for it, or the demon of death eats them for her service and replaces them with fires that will not go out, or no one punishes or rewards her at all and it’s just that when the world’s remade after a god-killing with four new gods Terezi has no eyes any more and cannot die. So she becomes Terezi Fire-Eyes, and Terezi God-killer. For obvious reasons, she did not mention this story to Kanaya. There is a TERRIBLE song about the sun finally finding out the whole backstory and coming down to Fire-Eyes to castigate her for her lover’s death. The metaphors are the WORST.
John, meanwhile, is the only one of the Five to have existed before Nooseweaver’s death and the devouring of the first world. He’s her brother. Nooseweaver’s death changed his aspect; when he was just her brother he was the Swindler (which has a different connotation in the language of the new world, but is similarly ambivalent as to his morality) but when she died and he joined the new pantheon he took on the name, I am so sorry, Ghostbuster. I couldn’t help it! It’s so perfect. This is why his name never gets mentioned in the fic.
Where did the new gods come from? Aradia came early, on her own (she’s the Waker, she’s always early to the party), and the rest were chosen by Karkat Worldmaker, who picked out three animals, a cat(-like creature), a crow(-like creature), and a dog(-like creature), and bled the God into them. Complicated!
Terezi plays a very peculiar role in the mythology of the highlands, where she’s a trickster but never a thief or a liar and at the same time the sort of authority you want to go to if you want a true answer or ruling but don’t mind it being the kind of truth that could possibly kill you. She learns the law from the people, and she teaches it back to them. She goes through spates of popularity but the general consensus is that god-killing isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, and that she and Gamzee All-friend and Karkat Worldmaker and Kanaya Sun-driver are good choices for how to act to your gods, and by analogy your leaders. You don’t want to be too respectful, basically, it gives them ideas.
I started out writing this fic in alliterative verse but it takes for ev er, so I’m just going to dump what I did so you can see my process, complete with missing letters. It was Nine to start with because I thought the alpha kids were going god tier, but I’m leaning away from that now!
Now, at the start of things***not the star-tough Nine
but the Diamond Twins***were the only gods,
and Nooseweaver loved***a naiad in several vows,
a mortal sworn to serve***the wide bright world.
Another story***in the restraint
the naiad had***while yet she lived
and still another***in dust lain: the girl
died in her youth***and Nooseweaver saw.
She l r n d f d***she learned of death
and knew she too***would set in time
her shining daylight ***here she nooned all
in her new vessel***the maiden’s skin.
This all before***the sail above sky
before Nooseweaver died***and the Nine rose
with two new suitors***w that n s t r
the fair Counselor***the brown Gardener.