The best defense


Jeers and swears flooded the forum.
“What we need is another WAR!! Enough of this shit!” It was Noran again. Of course it was. The crowd roared in agreement nonetheless.
“If the militia can’t handle it, we need the regime to step in!” said another. More cheering.

Hannowatha rolled her eyes and sighed under her breath. The guildmaster screamed for order above the rioting. Thank the heavens. After a moment the noise died down.

“We know, okay? We know. We are hurting too. I lost two of my shipments last year, don’t you think that pisses me off too?” rebuked the guildmaster. Mumbles from the crowd. “Look, we don’t have the manpower the Kavans have. You all know this. It’s been this way for-”
“Are you saying we should just sit and take it in the–”
“Enough! ENOUGH! I swear on the heavens, if you all don’t– hh! …Look. I am going to slowly and calmly talk this through. Lobbying will not be accepted until after I have given the word! Are we clear?” the guildmaster stressed the last syllables with purpose as the guards adjusted themselves to appear more imposing.

More mumbling from the crowd. Hannowatha tapped her tail. Come on…

“Okay. We are here to address what to do about the ‘Kavan issue’. Piracy has gone through the clouds in the past few years compared to what it used to be. Again, we know many of you have lost cargo and even hands to the raiders, and we know that this has impacted your trades in the extreme. We suspect much of this is sanctioned by the Kavan government in an attempt to harm Deltani competi–”

This time the shouting lasted for several minutes before order could be reestablished. Several of the more violent protesters were beaten by the guards and dismissed. Noran was one of them, thankfully. The exacerbated guildmaster continued his address, more of the same. Everyone knew most of his content already.

Hannowatha’s husband leaned over to her.
“What I don’t get- is why the Avato navy isn’t more aggressive about this. Or just let ours do it. Why don’t they shut this crap down?”
“Other than it would mean helping the Deltanis?” she whispered in an irked tone. He rolled his eyes knowingly and chuckled.
“Yea yea… But it hurts them too. If we’re getting hit this hard I’d hate to imagine what Rokur or Tontako is feeling right now.”
“Uh. Yeah.”
“Is Avato scared of pissing off the actual Kavan government or what? Cause if they’re- er- the pirates- …if they’re supported by the government… and surely Avato know if they are… then maybe they’re worried that killing these pigs would make Kavan retaliate officially?”
“Wouldn’t that be a bit extreme for Kavan?” Someone behind interjected, “It’s basically like declaring war at that point. Would they really do it? I mean Avato could probably take them-”
“-Well I don’t doubt that their land troops could, but I’m not as sure about the navy…” her husband trailed on. Hannowatha stopped paying attention.

Nothing was really getting done. Anywhere, it felt like. She was just angry that their family’s shipments inevitably came under attack and confiscation by the Kavans and it was killing their livelihood. But as to why the upswing in frequency was happening was just speculation. No one had a clear picture of the politics behind the scene. Most people in the crowd were just talking to each other at this point. As her husband trailed on about his theories she began to listen to the guildmaster’s vain attempts to persuade his audience. He started to wrap up. She elbowed her husband and he paid attention.

“We are already filing our official protest with the Deltani government. I know for a fact that around 30 other ports around us are doing the same. They have the ear of Avato. I have confidence we will see results very soon.”

Bureaucracy to the rescue. Again. Fantastic.

“On the bright side, when our trade is hurting theirs hurts too. That might make ‘em pay attention.” whispered her husband. Great.

The guildmaster began to end his lecture. Some more minor speeches, some questions from the crowd as a formality… The whole gathering itself was really just a formality. Just to let the people know the Port Authority was aware of the issue. What made people angry is they just couldn’t do much about it, and the Authority knew this. People began to leave. Just had to pray that Deltani could afford to mobilize enough forces to defend its people and their trades from the eastward scum. And that Avato wouldn’t get in the way. Again.

Again… ugh.

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Does showing an action condone it?

Something I’ve been thinking about lately when it comes to stories is the current temptation of creators to only show things they condone.

for example. personally, I don’t swear. however if I made an historical film about the mafia I’m not going to have Scarface or whoever running around saying “those darn cops”. he’d say something like “those fuckin’ pigs”. Now from my personal views I object to what mr. Scarface says, I don’t think it compromises my views to show his, even if I may heavily disagree with it.

I feel like in this time and place in the world there is almost an assumption that any point of view shown, if not explicitly for the sake of vilifying it, must necessarily be agreeing or promoting it. I don’t think this is true at all. For example, I find no joy whatsoever in inflicting pain on others in my life, but in this comic a lot of people will die- and not in tasteful ways. guilty people and innocent people. this happening has been the case since the dawn of humanity and it will continue to be so until the end. Generally when I show violence in Motherland it is for a reason other than violence for violence’s sake. does showing violence mean I agree with it? I don’t think so. I’m showing something that is, you choose what to make of it.

of course it can be very hard to show events, actions, or what have you in your work without trying to provoke an emotional response one way or another, let alone to help a reader try and empathize with ‘the enemy’. with today’s ease of communication, everybody is [able to be] a critic and often feel an obligation to vehemently agree or disagree. it’s so easy now. being offended is addicting. being offended makes me feel powerful, as it requires you to change. I think the fact it’s so easy to spread your views (via social media especially) without any real consequence is a big reason why so many controversies get so blown out of control now. while I also don’t subscribe to the current notion that “everybody is correct, truth is relative to you”, I don’t believe that every minute controversy one is exposed to needs to elicit an immediate choice, especially one of extreme rejection or acceptance. true beliefs are much more than knee-jerk reactions. sometimes it takes a topic without a clear answer to come to your own conclusions. I just wish more people would do it, and more people would be open to it in return.

that said, of course not every creator will agree with my position, I can only point out trends I see and pressures I myself feel. And of course there is a time and place for the author to condemn or condone whatever trend or action or philosophy he or she feels passionate about – just as there is a time to present it but not necessarily comment on it.

i’ll have to give it some more thought. will probably talk more about it in a post later.