into the utter east, sea of lilies

Dear NFE Author

Dear NFE Writer,

Firstly, thank you in advance! I love the work that comes out of this exchange, and having been away for a couple cycles of it, I'm so thrilled to come back, and already excited for whatever you concoct!

I think I left my prompts fairly vague, and I hope you do feel that gives you the chance to write a story you'll love, because I'll enjoy just about any Narnia fic. I do have a preference for stories about the girls, especially Susan, Lucy, Ramandu's daughter, Aravis, and Jadis in any form - and I particularly love stories where the girls get to interact with each other! That said, there really aren't any characters I would not want in a story, so if you like them and want to write about them, I'll take it! I prefer FF or gen to MM or FM, though no strenuous objections to any pairing or level of romance, and I always favor threesomes over love triangles :)

I love both happy adventure stories and sad, dark ones, adore world building, politics and economy in fantasy, touches of medieval or other storytelling influences, and alternate/non-common perspectives.

I hope this is at all helpful; thank you again for doing the NFE, and happy writing!!
into the utter east, sea of lilies

Katherine of Aragon as Persephone???

crossposting from tumblr bc wow it's really not every day lately that I have a potentially semi-original and at least interesting academic type thought :)

I don’t have access to JSTOR anymore and it’s KILLING ME right now because surely, surely someone has written a peer-reviewed piece about this concept before, no? Or a non peer-reviewed piece?  From the little I can see via Google, there’s some mention in discussing Katherine’s heraldic device of the obvious mythological connection, but mostly people focus on the general symbolism of the pomegranate for fertility, sanctity, etc, obviously good things for a princess/royal family to want connected to themselves.

But KATHERINE, the youngest princess, the beloved of her powerful mother (and let’s not forget her mother and father’s reputations as near to the divine, infinitely blessed, and powerful in their divine favor), sent/taken into a stranger, colder new land (and I am consistently interested in the delightful fact of the different diets of 14th/15th century Spain and England, esp. in that the Spanish had much more fresh fruit and vegetables ahem ahem goddesses of growth and harvest and springtime whaaaat) to be married.

And it’s not a violent abduction like Persephone’s, it’s not a rape, but it’s a political treaty requiring her to be subsumed (and so young - basically from what, age 3? she was titled Princess of Wales) into another kingdom, at the behest of an historically hard and cold king and a young (arguably) sickly prince, a line newly enthroned from desperate civil war, the picture of which altogether is quite deathly and foreboding. And then her husband dies but she cannot leave her new country (she will not leave), and she is tossed about and left to languish and her father and father-in-law haggle over the price of her but she sticks it all out! She becomes the Spanish ambassador, the link between her two worlds, she scrapes and suffers and holds out and her awful awful entry into England turns into her triumph and she is Queened.

I guess this necessarily requires a somewhat subversive view of Persephone, idk? Except that I’m not necessarily arguing that the seemingly placid acceptance of the difficulties/horrors that go along with their marriages and crownings is a positive thing - my least favorite part of the Persephone myth is its classical aspect which negates Hades’ crime and turns the rape into lawful and good marriage.  But the comparison is still there, the powerful ladies who retain power and influence.

Katherine who becomes a tie across all of Europe, Persephone who dispenses advice and judgement in other tales.  In another aspect, the cold queen of the dead, the woman set aside, hidden, her springtime power frozen away, who still commands respect and admiration.  Who still speaks.

into the utter east, sea of lilies


 Today was the epically winning day of Narnia/LotR xovers. So much perfection from everyone!

LOTR/Narnia, Lucy/Aragorn, I took the stars from my eyes/and then I made a map
"Our stars dance," Lucy says, sighing, and Aragorn finds he cannot look away from the curve of her throat as she looks up at Varda's children. Her bare feet tapping a strange and sparkling rhythm in the grass, and her eyes dart across new constellations.

"I will take you to the Elves," he promises, "and you must dance for them, for they love stars like you."

An addition to yesterday's Lucy/Aragorn...
Lucy watches Aragorn all day -- stolen glances, really, as she moves between patients, trying to emulate the calm of the healers here. They are not only professional but truly serene, a balm to the frantic minds and hearts brought in ever greater numbers from the field, and he is the unassuming beacon in the center of all, and when she catches herself weeping as Eowyn opens her eyes, she doesn't know whether it's out of relief for her friend or simply at the beauty in the returned king's gentle hands. What she knows, in a great purring rush of certainty, is that she needs her own Houses of Healing in Narnia.

LOTR, Eowyn, she is so much more than this
It is good, this life she and Faramir are coaxing out of the earth of Ithilien, both a new adventure and a satisfying duty. Her days are full and her nights happy, and she begins to find a peacefulness in herself that she never thought to feel again. Still, there are days when the White Lady of Rohan, nursing a lingering pain in what was once her shield-arm, cannot keep from dreaming of war and glory.

Narnia, Susan/Edmund, conversion has just left me heathen
It is different in England, certainly - more secretive, more shameful, so that suddenly they find themselves hiding the extent of their lingering affections even from Peter and Lucy. "But after all," as Edmund likes to say as they undress each other, as they lie shivering under ration-thin blankets, as they creep silently and contently from hidden corners, "it really can't be so different."

And Susan smiles and draws him close and whispers, "Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen."

LOTR/Narnia, Lucy/Aragorn, I took the stars from my eyes/and then I made a map
"Our stars dance," Lucy says, sighing, and Aragorn finds he cannot look away from the curve of her throat as she looks up at Varda's children. Her bare feet tapping a strange and sparkling rhythm in the grass, and her eyes dart across new constellations.

"I will take you to the Elves," he promises, "and you must dance for them, for they love stars like you."

Narnia, Peter/Lucy, sharing warmth
It is the dead of winter, frozen and quiet and lonely, one of those nights when Edmund refuses all company. Peter finds Lucy propped up outside their brother's door, dozing uncomfortably and shivering against the cold stones of Cair Paravel, and she opens her eyes blearily but immediately beckons him to join her. "I don't want him to be alone with the nightmares," she murmurs, little-sister soft as she burrows into his side, and the warmth he feels spreading through him, he knows, has as much to do with the fierceness of her heart as the closeness of her body.

into the utter east, sea of lilies

three sentence fic~

So so lovely to come back while this is still going! My favorite ficathon :)

Medieval History, Richard II/Anne of Bohemia + Richard III/Anne Neville, history repeating
"I think...they are saying my husband had me murdered, to make way for his brother's daughter."

"Oh, my dear, there will always be Edwards and Richards and Henrys reigning and marrying and dying; we're out of it now, here at least, for ourselves, we can decide how it went. It was the plague, dear, and he loves you and mourns you."

Narnia, Peter/Lucy, she loves him like the stars
He is her favorite sibling, still, but not in the guilty, secretive manner of picking amongst brothers and sisters. This love is deeper, more visceral, and more shameful, even in Narnia where loves of all kind lay thick as autumn leaves upon the ground. She loves him like the stars, twinkling and watching from afar, as close as their names and as desperately untouchable as their distant, dancing selves.

LOTR/Narnia, Lucy and Aragorn, their hands can heal, their hands can bruise
"I always say it's not a true quest until you've made friends with the mysterious stranger who ambushed you and knocked you out," Lucy says, quite cheerfully for a girl with a lump on her head and her weapons still in the hands of said stranger.

"Are we friends already?" he asks, quietly amused, reaching across to hand her a cup of tea.

"We are if you let me try your pipeweed!"

LOTR/Narnia: Eowyn, any, Susan's horn
Eowyn knows horn calls, has spent her life in thrall to the gut-wrenching reliefs and pains of clear notes blaring across the Mark. This sound is like none she has ever heard, low and gentle and insistent, a declaration and a challenge and a peace offering all at once. And when she steps outside, the woman winding it lowers her horn and smiles, as if she were sounding it for Eowyn and no one else.
into the utter east, sea of lilies

three sentencing again

Collapse )</div>A brothel is a convent is a palace, in many ways. She has already pleased her new husband, over and over, weaving into place the fates of herself and her daughter and her vision of God. She stands before the throne and breathes deeply, steadying herself upon its gilded arm, and dreams of a basilica.

[Historical RPF, Anne Boleyn/Francis I, she learned many lessons at the French court]
They all think she is only one of his whores, like her sister before her, a pretty and useless English mare. But the lessons he conducts for her by moonlight are not all about satisfying and being satisfied - they talk about whatever has been on Francis' mind, about ships, about crops (though she shudders away from knowledge of husbandry, for she will not be a simple gentleman farmer's daughter, wife). Some nights, when Anne leaves, she has to remember to tousle her hair and unlace her dress, because, of course, she is only a whore.

[Greek mythology, Hades/Persephone, you can't make the snow fall in summer/or make him not want her/not leave her behind]
"And you will keep safe?" He does not ask - "will you come back?" - but she smiles sadly anyway, and hands him a black flower.
"I always do."</div>

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into the utter east, sea of lilies

more three sentence!

I tried to cut this to make it less space-consuming on an flist, but the cut-tool was not cooperating, sorry everyone!

[Beowulf, Freawaru, the spear snickers / the wicked arrow / narrowly flickers / and nicks the marrow]
They named her peace-weaver, and so she is. She sits in the hall and helps allot gold and brews mead and at night tells her husband with her body how much she desires him, and for him to keep the alliance. But sometimes, she takes his spear from the wall and tests the strength of her arm, and thinks what else she could have been.

[Beowulf, the wailing woman, heroes have the whole earth as their tomb.]
The voice is hers, but the grief she lends it to is of the entire earth. The sea he swam, the rocks he climbed, the lowliest grasses he ran across - all these and more mourn the passing of a hero. There is a comfort in this universal sharing, even as her own insignificant heart breaks over and over again.

[Game of Thrones, Sansa/Jaime, with the perfect armor/with the perfect dream]
They bring him before the court stripped of his golden armor - the gold cloak is long gone, and the ghost of his hand twitches - and weaponless, but unbound, unsure if he is an enemy of war or a guest. He can't help looking around for weak points, escape routes, but then he looks up and remembers why he is here.
The Queen in the North smiles at him, and stretches out her hand.

[Greek Mythology, Apollo/Hyakinthos, I think I made you up inside my head (Sylvia Plath).]
The West Wind blows cold, sending clouds across Apollo's vision, and by the time the sun god drives through them, the last purple flowers have been torn from their stem and swept away. He warms the earth desperately, tugging at whatever seedlings may be there, grasping the memory of laughter, strong muscle and gentle hands, but none reply. The memories fade a little more - pitiless laughter wafts by on the breeze.

[Greek Mythology/Roman mythology, any god/any Roman version of that god, the ultimate vanity]
"Σ'αγαπώ" Narcissus murmured dreamily, reaching out to touch his reflection.
"Ave," came a voice from the water. "Faciem tuam est divinam."

[Greek Mythology, Aethra + Helen, I wake every morning and pray that I could hate you]
This city is nothing, for all the horse-lords love it so, and she is nothing in it, not quite a slave, not quite a royal prisoner, not quite a maid, nothing like a friend. She helps the littler princesses with their sewing and watches Astyanax sometimes, and avoids Helen. She wouldn't be able to stand facing the woman who tried to do something to break free of this whole cycle.

[Greek Mythology, Hector/Andromache, even Hector Tamer of Horses can make a joke once in a while, you know]
It's early in their marriage, and the city is yet foreign to her, her shining husband barely coalescing from tales of fame to something real. He enters their room to find her buried under the driving gear she was trying to clean for him, in tears of frustration and no small amount of fear, and lifts the heavy leather mess off Andromache with one hand, offering the other to help her up.
"The horses don't much care what it looks like, anyway," he says, and smiles.

[Greek Mythology, Hermione & Andromache, "Tell me about my mother, please."]
Neoptolemus expects them to clash and clearly revels in the keeping of two such noble women, their reputations made intriguing by the war rather than ruined. Hermione plays along well enough, acknowledging Andromache but frostily before the court, making a fuss of begging her husband to send the foreign bitch away. But later, in the women's quarters, unveiled and raw, she falls to her knees before the other woman and asks, "Did you know my mother in Troy?"

[Greek Mythology, Alcestis & Eurydice, the nature of true love]
"It was a choice," Alcestis says, leaning comfortably against the cold rock.
"A snake, for me," Eurydice replies, looking back at the boat which brought her in, head cocked as if to pick up some faint strain. "But," she continues, shaking her head and turning to examine the Underworld, "I could grow to choose it."
[and a second fill bc I can't make up my headcanon]
When they call up shades, men always want to ask them about love.
"I loved my husband so much that I died in his place, to please the gods," Alcestis tells them demurely.
"My husband loved me so much he walked into Hades to seek me out," Eurydice shares, confidentially, a hand on the arm, implying that it's alright if they can't all do the same, if everyone doesn't have that kind of love in them.
By themselves, though, they drink up all the wine spilled in the calling, and share different stories, and ignore their now equally dead husbands, who were weak, who were greedy, who didn't have that kind of love in themselves either, only obsession.

[Greek mythology, Hades/Persephone, my bones are shifting in my skin/and you, my love, are gone]
Spring comes, and takes the Queen back home to her mother like an errant child. The shades yawn, and pull in on themselves, and wait for her to return, tiptoeing around a silent and melancholy Hades. And the god of death watches new roots break down through the earth and reaches up to hold his wife's tendrilled fingers.

[Greek mythology, Hades/Persephone, all I can dream about/is how to make you smile]
They say that the god of death sleeps when his wife is gone, that autumn and the turning of the leaves is not just Demeter's grief but his wakening joy. They say he takes the form of a bear, and hibernates, and when Persephone returns there is a new cub for her to mother, a new life down in the shadows of Dis. They say he dreams, through two whole seasons, of her smile when she took the pomegranate seeds from his hand.

[Greek Mythology, Oenone/Paris, "oh will we pass the test/or just as one loves more and more/will one love less and less"]
She watches him in water and wine, and watches the new wife, too, to see what made him forget her -- it's not difficult; the new wife is, in the way of women, most beautiful, and the way she twines around Alexander suggest an easy intimacy Oenone hadn't shared with him since the birth of their child. Their child - she looks up to where the toddler plays with her sisters and the shepherds, and this is a little grace at least, that Corythus and herself are not in that doomed city.
She watches, and the ships she sent guides for draw closer, and she loves her shepherd more and more.

[greek mythology, ariadne & medea & circe (going with the version of the myths in which Ariadne and medea are both granddaughters of helios, and therefore circe's nieces), stitch and--]
There is a world in which no men come to them asking for salvation, nor offering it, no lonely islands or gods or strings or fleece or children.
They come of age in hard, blood-soaked lands which have eaten adventurers and inventors and their own mad kings.
There is a world where they arrive, blinking in the dazzling sun and sand, upon the island of their aunt, and they keep a house with her, and learn her magic, and they keep in what they will and, like the islands of their birth, eat whatever comes to them that they will not have.

[Canaanite religion, Asherah/Yahweh, breaking up is hard to do.]
El is consummate power, yes, and she took him in the oldest of days as a suitable father for her children, and the coupling has turned out well enough. These days, though, he has begun again one of those power-mad games in which he forsakes most of their creation and her role in it to choose and test a certain people - this happens periodically, but now he seeks to eliminate all other powers. Her name has been wiped from lips and books, and if he comes crawling back again, he'll see that this time it is impossible to forgive.

[Greek/Roman religion; Mithras, Christianity; Mithras is not jealous]
He has been known by many names over the volcano years, the flood years. Aspects of him have been El, YHWH, Zeus, and he has floated in the waters of himself, lowed in the pastures of himself, judged himself and found himself innumerable and all-truthful. These Romans no longer know which parts of the divine they want, nor how they want each part to act, but Mithra is mutable, and knows how to give way gracefully, like the sun from morning to noon to night.[Beauty and the Beast, Belle/Beast, Greek mythology]
She sees from the first that this castle is a labyrinth, that the Beast at its heart is a Minotaur, born of greed and a curse, trapped away for his own safety and that of others. When he doesn't show any real inclination to eat her, she reassesses the story she knows. Then, she finds a thread she can follow and sets out to free him.

[Beauty and the Beast, Belle/Beast, languages]
Her French is immaculate, high or low, her Latin quite passable, and she can even carry a conversation in English, thanks to her multitude of books. He speaks a guttural sort of re-learned aristocratic French, yes, but it is forced out of a voicebox not made for human sounds, and she works hard to hide how difficult he can be to understand.
Sometimes she hears him speaking in an altogether wilder and more lovely language, to himself or to the servants, and she wishes she could make those sounds.
[Arthurian Myth, Guinevere, "Diplomacy, in my own name."]
From the convent she dispatches piles of letters, advice to Orkney, to Avalon, to all corners of Albion. She calls on old favors, promises prayers, deploys every secret and shame and pride she has gathered through the years, for she will not let her own failures and those of others continue their rampage. She signs them, simply, "Guinevere."

[The Mummy series, Evie/Rick, "No harm ever came from--" "No. Just no."]
"But it's a book, Evie, look, I thought you love books!"
She wavers, then, because it is a book, a very nicely old-looking one, with a deliciously old and difficult form of hieryglyphs on the cover that might take her weeks to translate....but it's also a book from a tomb, and she has learned her lesson there, she knows the power both good and harmful in "just peeking" at books.
"I'm the librarian, and I say no, Rick."

[The Mummy/Narnia, Digory and Polly meet up with Rick and Evie on a dig. Hijinks ensue]
"But, Polly, the inscription says it's merely ceremonial," Evie protests as Polly and Digory pull her away from a familiar pedestal bell-and-gong set up, "and Rick and I have been looking for this for months, it's probably the only undamaged one left..."
"Hey, Evie, I found it," Rick yelled, followed by a dusty but surprisingly clear ringing. Digory groaned and Polly clicked her tongue disapprovingly, and from deeper in the cavern a strange thumping began to sound.
[Sistine Chapel ceiling, Libyan Sybil/Prophet Jonah, gaze back at me]
She can feel him, watching her from above - or is it beside? Her sense of space has been off ever since that painter and his assistants dashed her up here; she can feel the curvature where walls meet ceiling, can feel the foundations of the building itself; sometimes she thinks she can feel everything except her own hermited passions. She takes a deep breath, inhaling the plaster and dust of centuries, and looks up.

[Twelfth Night/The Tempest, Viola and Miranda, shipwreck]
Father told her to wait, hidden, and so Miranda does, even if it's up on the bluff and not in their cave. So she sees the pieces of ship wash up, and she sees the various older men set out in groups across the island. But she also sees the young woman, just her age, who takes stock of her surroundings and her loneliness, who rips up an undershirt to bind her breasts, who cuts her hair jagged and short; Miranda watches the young man squint into the salt-sprayed sun and begin to hike into the hills, and she moves to follow.
[Narnia, Susan, social construction of reality]
She asks the priest: what is real? and he hands her a wooden crucifix and says - sacrifice, passion, original sin washed away by divine and human blood - and she grips the tiny cross so hard it splinters into her palm, but what she feels is stone.
She asks the nurse: what is real? and she says - the train's brake failed, it went around the corner much too fast and flew off the rails, and they all died on impact, probably without pain - and she identifies bodies and arranges funerals, but she dreams she is always running, further up and further in, but she is never fast enough.
She asks the trees: what is real? and they say - shhhhhhhh, we are being played upon by the wind, we are drinking sunshine, shhhhhhhh, you are alone and uprooted, shhhhhhh - and she walks away and asks no more.

[Narnia, Pevensies, temporal detente/where clocks are barely breathing/yet no one cares to notice]
There is a moment - no more, no less, and for each of them a different length - where one can feel oneself between worlds. Branches to coats, field to trainstation, the edge of the world to the smallest bedroom - there is a roughness to it, a hook, they say to each other, a catch, something slipping past. As if Narnia doesn't want to let them go, either.
reserve your right to think, hypatia

more three sentence, and new icons


I cannot believe I didn't have a Hypatia/Agora userpic, it was a travesty.  I made two tonight:

I MEAN JUST LOOK AT HER FACE. Plus, last librarian at Alexandria, physicist/geometer/philosopher feels to the max. Yes, I will be watching this movie and crying myself to sleep tonight.

I also made a couple others I think I will get good use out of:

This as my doomed Trojan women icon, because wow this is by far the single best scene in Troy, no words between them, only so much feels and Helen is writhing in guilt but she recognizes that nope she is not the most important person right now and she is the only person to go to Andromache who has just seen her husband killed, my ladiiiiiiiiiiiiiies, my doomed to survive with all they love killed before them beautiful ladies.

And this is one of Gustave Moreau's Death of Sappho paintings, just because it's pretty and mythological-historical, and Sappho!

And a couple more 3SF fills!

[Greek Mythology, Achilles/Iphigenia, the price to pay for glory]
They meet in Hades, and he shines brighter every day with the way his name is already carrying forward into the future. She is a little wisp of a shade, flickering a little every now and then into clearer notice.
But she looks at him, and will not look away, and he feels his glory diminished.

[Narnia, Cor/Aravis, marriage negotiations]
"You'll move into my bedchambers, though, right?"
"Cor, don't be ridiculous, after all the time Lucy spent helping me set up my boudoir, do you really think I'm moving? We'll sleep wherever we please, and that's that, now kiss me and let's go tell the family."

this sudden burst of sunlight, LWW Susan

three sentence fic!

Time for a roundup of what I have so far, I think!

[Narnia, Susan/Lune, if you are with me I go with joy to my rest]
"He's been calling for the Queen that was, Your Highness, and now for Queen Susan - he wants them to wait for him to catch up."
"Susan, love, don't leave again," the king gasped feverishly.
Oh, Aravis thought, squeezing Cor's hand where it rests on Lune's death-bed, so Corin was right, after all.

[Elementary, Joan Watson, the day my body caught fire the woodland darkened]
She knows the burn of losing someone for whom you are responsible. She thinks she knows what Sherlock feels when he can't stop until he's found a killer, no matter how closed the case.
The day she takes her first case on her own, a case everyone else has forgotten, she learns a new kind of fire has been smoldering inside her.

[anyone, anyone, "the truth is this: / my love for you / is the only empire i will ever build"]
"Why do you stay in Rome, Cesare?" Lucrezia asks one night, all innocent eyes and tousled hair. "By now you could have been an emperor."
"But you are in Rome, my love."

[Narnia, Susan Pevensie, here we are in the waiting room of the world]
"Well," she says, attempting to shake water off and finding herself quite dry. The wood is silent and still but humming with altogether too much emotion for her to categorize. "This is new."

[Supernatural, Cassie Robinson, investigative reporting disguised as fiction]
"Are you Cassie Robinson? Ohmigosh I love all your books, my favorite is the one about the ghost and her mortal lover, where do you get your ideas?"
The fan is young, bright-eyed, and clutching an omnibus of her best-selling hunting novels. Cassie smiles, and signs a book, and remembers why she does this.

[Supernatural, anybody, the Old Gods still breathe]
They think the world's most beloved, most feared, most powerful gods are dead at the hands of an upstart Word. And - technically - those bodies were more manifestation than vessel. But across the world prayers are still answered, curses set, cycles of birth and death and rebirth continue playing out as they always have.

[Bond-Skyfall/Harry Potter: M; Minerva McGonagall; civilian casaulties, collateral damage]
"It happens, we both know that; we've just got to go on anyhow."
"It shouldn't have to happen."
"We both know that, too - biscuit?"

[Downton Abbey/Narnia, the Crawley sisters go to Narnia]
They are Queens, all three of them, queens without husbands or parents or primogeniture, before they even realize how natural and strange this is. "She's so much happier here, have you noticed?" Edith asks Sybil, watching Mary greet petitioners one day. Sybil smiles, and if she's noticed the same thing about Edith, and about herself, well - there's no one here to defend their happiness to, and so she laughs and goes with Edith to visit the Trees.

[Narnia, Susan/Lucy, laughter]
Susan unpins her hair and tucks up her dress and sprints after Lucy into the summer grasses, tackling her sister to the ground with very little dignity and no shame. Lucy retaliates with kissing and tickling, and Susan throws her head back, baring her neck and belly in the manner of their favorite subjects. Lucy kisses her again, more deliberately and with greater abandon, and their laughter rises to the sun.

[Narnia, Lucy/Sea Girl, "among mortal women, know this / from every care / you could release me"]
Lucy sinks down, down, and this water is salty but the fisherdess' arms are the sweetest thing. She has been a queen, and a schoolgirl, a conqueror and an adventurer, but this is the most true. The Sea-Girl's lips collide with hers, another pair of lungs breathing air into hers, and she knows she will likely drown one day, but until then she will not give up this release.
[and then it kept happening]
They think themselves something out of a fairy tale, or a creation story. Land and sea and sky, twisting together, reveling in each other, loving and merging. They become the horizon, indistinguishable where they meet, melting, evaporating, refusing to wholly let go even when they are torn apart by worlds and time.
Some people say it is all part of Queen Lucy's myth, that she sang songs to the stars - so we came up with a star-girl; and she sailed and swam - so we came up with a sea-girl. Lucy hears the stories in True Narnia, realizes this is why people like Tirian and those generations look at her the way they do. It makes her laugh, because in True Narnia she and her girlfriends are inseparable, and none of them are more than they are.

[Narnia, Susan, and you're as loyal as your faith will let you be]
She cannot pray - she never had to in Narnia, finds no use for it here. Churches and temples are lovely, sweet houses or bastions of power, but they are cold and empty no matter how much incense is burned or how many bodies bend and bow.
Susan sits in her room at night, with pictures of her family, and looks at four glowing rings on the floor of a bookshelf, and remembers.

[Greek mythology, Penelope & Clytemnestra, diplomatic relations]
The message, woven in bumps and slurs, comes with a shipment of goods from Ithaca to Mycenae, in a chest of textile samples sent directly to Queen Clytemnestra.
So the war proceeds apace, Cousin, and our husbands will not return for some years yet, by my reckoning. We must ensure our mutual survival in the meantime.
[and continued]
Helen was the beauty of the family, yes. But she was not the only swan-born of the house of Leda, and it was Clytemnestra to whom Penelope had always turned for advice on matters of beauty and seduction and love. It was Clytemnestra who winked from across the room when Odysseus announced that he was giving up his suit of Helen, that he had a different wife in mind.

[Greek mythology, Hermione and Helen, the mother she does not know]
Her Aunt Clytemnestra is not a warm woman, and Hermione is not Iphigenia, but they have muddled along well enough for these ten years. She mostly thinks of herself as motherless, anyway - she has a few memories of Helen, a bright peripheral presence who may or may not have loved her, against years of hearing about the Spartan traitor-whore; it's not easy to determine what she should believe about her mother, so she has given up trying.
This woman who stands before her, renamed her mother and her father's wife and the queen of Sparta, does not look particularly broken, or ruined, or beautiful.

[The Tempest, Prospero and Miranda, her father's daughter, OR; The Tempest (2010 film), Prospera and Miranda, her mother's daughter]
Miranda has studied her father's knowledge for years, openly and in secret - not just Prospero's books but her clothing, her dresses and pants and crowns, the heeled boots that give her height, the staff that plants her solidly to the ground and reaches up to the sky. Prospero is a good father, and a better teacher. When the strange sea-soaked boy washes up onto their shores, Miranda knows exactly what to do.

[Narnia, Lucy, anger]
They do not understand, not one of them, even as Narnians creep fearfully out of hiding and Telmarines burn through the forests. They squabble over who knows best while her people, endangered by hope, continue to die.
Lucy takes up her knife and goes out to fight.

[Till We Have Faces, Psyche and Orual, the gods were in the wrong]
This worship they demand, this sacrifice, cannot hold. Choice is the purest benediction, and Orual does not choose to give up her sister to a cold illusion, and that choice is as sacred as Psyche's body laid out on a mountain.
"Light the lamp," she urges her sister, and she knows that if the gods want to keep their hold on the world, they will accept whatever she chooses to give them.

[Greek Mythology, Andromache & Cassandra, how the Trojans win the war]
Andromache stares at her sister - always more than just by marriage - and tries to understand. Cassandra is clearly not insane - none of the others even think that, they just talk as if she is, and ignore her as if she is - and Andromache can't think of any particular reason not to listen to the younger woman's warnings. The fatherless babe on her hip coos a little in sleep, and she narrows her whole self until she is an arrowpoint of will, and asks Cassandra, "Tell me what we do."

[The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, Smoking Jacket & Gleam & Key, the loyal ones who wait behind]
They are useful, and they like being useful, and they would never presume to be the same as the Beings among September's companions. They pride themselves on being there when she needs them, and that is that. It doesn't hurt to be left to wait for when they are needed next - not much.

[Greek mythology, Cassandra, the end of the world]
Cassandra stares out from the walls, her watch lonely even amidst the crowd, as the chariot stirs dust toward Troy. Her vision sharpens until she can see the blood gasping from her brother's wounds, can see all the way to his spirit sinking into the dust of the land he loved, can see the cold fields of Hades that are her future. The city in flames creeps across her eyes, but this is not the first time she has watched the world end, and as she begins to wail she prays for it to finally happen.