Monday, January 31, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 18

Mary is in labor. Remember? Joseph finds a cave and gets her settled in it, leaves his sons to take care of her and runs off trying to find a Hebrew midwife.

For those of you wondering where the barn and manger are...those just aren't historically accurate, m'kay? Wood was scarce. They did not house their livestock in buildings made of wood. Caves on the other hand were really convenient and could be converted into 'barns'. So, Christ was born in a cave. Adjust. Orthodox icons have always depicted the Nativity in a cave and there's a kind of symmetry, with the infant Christ wrapped in white swaddling against the black mouth of the cave and then the knowledge that He will again be wrapped in cloth and laid in a cave for three days.

Oddly, the narrative switches to first person at this point. Some have said that it's proof that the Gospel is different texts merged together, but the oldest surviving fragment, from the fourth century runs from chapter 13 through 23 and contains the same shift. So if it is a merger of different texts it was a very early merger. It might just be a dramatic shift. Everything up to this point has been almost a prologue, how Mary was born, how she married Joseph, the Annunciation and their trial. Important, but not the 'main event'. For that, it might be more engaging if you hear the story being told as though the person speaking had been there.

I'm just going to copy the text. This is Joseph's point of view while trying to go find a midwife for Mary. He doesn't know it at the time, but this is also the moment of Christ's birth: "Then I, Joseph, was walking, but somehow I did not walk. I looked up into the vault of the heavens, and saw it standing still, and into the air and saw it astonished, and the birds of the heavens motionless. And I looked upon the earth and saw a platter resting, and workmen reclining, and their hands were in the dish. But the ones who were chewing did not chew, and the ones reaching did not reach, and the ones carrying food to their mouths did not carry it; but all their faces were looking upward.

"And I saw sheep being driven, yet the sheep stood still; and the shepherd raised his hand to strike them with his staff, and his hand remained up. And I looked upon the water-brook and I saw the kids put their mouths down upon the water and not drink. And suddenly all things moved forward in their course."

So time stopped.


I got a new monitor for my work computer. It's biiigggggggggggggg.... ^-^

I feel more productive already!


Also, "We can't giggle. It's a crime scene." Ah, Sherlock. My newest obsession. Though given that it's a remake of Sherlock Holmes, it's actually one of my oldest obsessions given a cell phone!

edit: It occurred to me, the level of irony involved in making a post saying how much more productive I feel at work with my new monitor, while at work, clearly not working, but rather making a post about it on my blog.


Okay, so we went and saw The Rite yesterday. I enjoyed it. My friend Donna's problem was that it was 'inspired' by true events. So on the one hand the possessions weren't *movie* possessions, with the ubiquitous head spinning, etc. and on the other hand, 'the writer always tries to blow up real events so they're more dramatic'. So it was both not spectacular enough, and too spectacular. :)

Anyway, we always stand around and talk after the movie. Walk through the mall, since the theater is in the mall, that sort of thing. Deconstruct the film and just generally yammer on. So we're talking, and talking about the movie and angels and demons and Donna tells me that a while back, when we'd been having another conversation after another demons movie she'd taken the wings off of an angel statue she has in her house because I told her that angels don't really have wings.

At which point my jaw dropped open and I couldn't decide to laugh or not. I mean, okay, yes, I stand by the fact that angels don't have wings as we depict them. Angels don't have physical forms in the same way that people or anything else material does. They're described as having wings in visions in the Bible and so on, but that's just...a vision. A representation of the reality toned down so our brains don't explode. So they don't have giant bird wings, as lovely as they look in art.

But I never expected her to go around 'editing' a statue! She was saying, 'Well of course I did! I want him to look right so the angel's aren't insulted!'

I just- what do you say to that? Between giggles I did my best to explain that the angels weren't going to be insulted if the art didn't look exactly like them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 17

This chapter starts about three months after the first, or at least very close to Mary's due date. It picks up with the order from Caesar Augustus (Octavian!) for everyone to register. (And thus the confluence of book and history-crush!)

Joseph has trouble deciding how to register Mary. He doesn't want to register her as his wife, because technically she isn't, totally. Remember? He considers registering her as his daughter (which is another indication that Joseph is a good bit older than Mary), but knows that all of Israel will know she isn't his daughter. He decides to leave the decision in God's hands, saying that "This is the day the Lord has made; it will turn out as he wills." So he's decided not to make a decision.

So he saddles up a donkey, puts Mary on it and heads out with one of his sons leading the donkey. The make it three miles when Joseph glances back at Mary and sees that she looks very, very sad. He wonders if maybe the baby is causing her pain. But then the next time he turns to look, she's laughing. So he goes back to her and asks how she's doing. Mary replies that she's seeing two peoples in front of her, one afflicted and grieving and one joyful and exulting.

The author's note says that the two peoples in Mary's vision are traditionally understood to be two branches of the Jewish people. The ones who are grieving are those who rejected Christ and the ones rejoicing those who accepted Him. The later includes those Gentiles who believed in Jesus through the preaching of the Apostles and were grafted into the 'tree'.

When they were half way to Bethlehem Mary told Joseph to help her down off of the donkey, because 'that which is within me presses me to come forth.' He takes her down off of the donkey and asks her, 'Where shall I take you, to cover your shame? For this is a desert place?'

The author makes it clear that shame is used here as a euphemism for 'private parts'. Though I dislike the implications in using such a word for any part of the human body, it is historically accurate and well, it's hard to judge history by our modern standards. We just shouldn't do it. I think Joseph is basically just trying to find Mary some privacy from any wandering travellers because giving birth is one of those things you don't really want any random stranger to see. No one looks good giving birth. I've seen it, and it's Not. Pretty. Also, babies are ugly and squashy when they come out. And sticky. Giving birth is a miracle of life, but it's a messy one.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


First ep of Sherlock watched in toto.

Reaction: giggling and squeeing

*runs off to read moar fanfic*

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 16

This starts out with the priest demanding that Joseph 'give back' Mary.

Oh, let's take a moment and, as women, be insulted by that. Done? Me neither. Take another moment and remember that this is 2,000 years ago. It helps me anyway. :)

Joseph weeps and the priest declares that he will give Joseph the 'water of the Lord's rebuke to drink' and it will make his sin apparent to him. The 'water of the Lord's rebuke' is mentioned in Numbers 5:11-31 - if a 'spirit of jealousy' causes a man to think that his wife has cheated on him he can take her to the temple and the priest will give her a drink that consists of water mixed with dust from the temple floor. (For the record, EWWWWWWWW. *makes icky face*) If she drinks this and convulses in agonising pain, she's guilty. If she has no reaction, she's innocent. Um. Well, it has the weight of likely saving a good deal of marriages. Aside from that it seems to be a fairly silly and useless test of innocence. Ah, historical methods of 'truth finding' you are either really amusing or totally deadly.

Joseph takes the 'truth serum' and drinks it. Nothing happens. So the priest gives it to Mary. She drinks and is sent out into the hill-country. Why? It doesn't say anything about Joseph being sent out to the hill-country or anywhere else when he's given the 'truth serum', so why send Mary out? I have no explanation. It just strikes me as odd, really. Mary comes back unharmed and everyone is shocked that no sin was found in either Joseph or Mary.

The priest says, "If the Lord God does not reveal your sin, then neither will I condemn you." So Joseph takes Mary and return to his home, rejoicing and glorifying God.

Caesar Augustus and The Gospel of Mary Chapter 15

First, for the record, I have developed an insane history-crush on Octavian Caesar Augustus. I blame Rome. He was always this awesome brilliant kid and then he went and grew up and uh, conquered shit. All the shit. But really, visually, for the show, the scene where Octavian, having been named Consul by Cicero (who thought he'd gotten a kid into power that he could control) stomps on the Senate's collective ass and tells them what they will do is just insane and is the point at which my uterus exploded.

Okay. On to the next chapter!

It's the next day, presumably, from Joseph's return home and the revelation that Mary is pregnant. The scribe Annas comes, wondering why Joseph did not go to worship as soon as he'd returned home from his journey.

Joseph tries to play it off, claiming weariness from his journey, but Annas turns and sees Mary and all bets are off.

Annas runs to the priest and tells him, "Joseph, whom you vouched for, has sinned grievously....He has defiled the virgin whom he received from the temple of the Lord, and secretly taken her as his wife, without revealing it to the children of Israel."

The priest sends officers to Joseph's home and they find that Mary is, indeed, pregnant and they bring her and Joseph before the court. The priest questions why Mary has done this, why she has humiliated herself and forgotten God. She weeps, proclaiming her innocence once again.

The priest then turns to Joseph, asking him why he has done this. Joseph replies that he is faultless concerning Mary. But the priest insists: "Now do not lie, but tell the truth. You have married her by stealth, and did not reveal it to the children of Israel. You did not bow your head beneath the mighty hand of God, so that your offspring would be blessed." But Joseph remains silent to this.

I think it's interesting that the problem is not that Mary is pregnant, but that Joseph did not marry her 'properly'. She was already handed over to Joseph as his wife, but it was clearly not the complete marriage that we're thinking of, with conjugal rights, or the priest wouldn't have a problem with Mary being pregnant. I think it's more like an engagement, even though she'd been living in his home for at least three years. They were half-wed! But until the official marriage ceremony, Joseph had no right to Mary in certain ways.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 14

Joseph leaves Mary because he is 'greatly afraid' after what she has just told him.

He's arguing to himself, "If I conceal her sin, I shall be found rebelling against the law of the Lord. But if I expose her to the children of Israel, I am afraid; perhaps what is in her is angelic, and I shall be found betraying innocent blood to the judgment of death. What then shall I do? I will send her away from me secretly." Having decided this, Joseph falls asleep.

He dreams, and an angel appears to him in his dream, telling Joseph that Mary has conceived by the Holy Spirit and that they will name the child Jesus because he would save the people from their sins.

Waking, Joseph rises and glorifies God who has given him this grace, and then he returns home to protect 'the girl'.


Okay, I'm going to try and do this post without getting bitchy or gossiping. The last is hard, mostly because someone can say that talking about anyone at all is gossiping, especially if it's things that they don't want known. But then, none of you know the people I'm talking about, so is it gossiping? Also there's the harm factor - keeping quiet about it in real life has the possibility of allowing or causing harm, at least in the emotional sense.

When we hear the word 'bullying' we think about children being bullied in school. It seems like such a kid thing to do, really. To choose someone who is smaller, weaker or more vulnerable and isolated than oneself to vent our negative emotions on. Bullying has a multitude of forms, but it's all about power. The bully typically feels powerless in their own life. They may be living in an abusive home. They take all their own pain and helplessness out on someone else because that's what they've learned is acceptable. The strong attack the weak.

But it's absolutely possible for people to be bullied as adults.

We have such a situation at my work. D is bullying H2.

Look at that chart. Except for a few, like the physical attacks and stealing her things, these are all things that D is doing to H2. She blames her for everything. She bad mouths her to others, hinting that H2 is stealing from the till, cheating on her time punches, lying, taking drugs, stealing from the government. Please don't get me wrong, H2 has problems in her life. She's not perfect by any means, but that doesn't mean she deserves this treatment. No one deserves to be talked about and accused behind their back. No one deserves to be mocked and made fun of and insulted to their face. H2 has psoriasis and it's gotten much worse in the past couple of weeks.

She feels awful about it. She hates it already and has issues with her body and liking herself because of it. It's an easy wound to poke, and D has. I didn't know that until today, of course. I've known that D doesn't like H2, for no reason that I can discover except, perhaps, jealousy over some things, and I've known that she tries to start rumors about her. We all know it and we don't enable or encourage D, and we call her on it when we're there to hear her tell other people about H2's 'crimes'. But we're not always there. And I didn't know that she'd started insulting H2 to her face now.

Our boss knows, and is going to 'deal with it', whatever form that might take. But right now we're just sitting her wondering how someone can be so vicious and petty as a grown adult to do such childish things.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 13

This chapter picks up another three months down the line, so Mary is six months pregnant and St. John the Forerunner has been born and is three months old.

Joseph returns home from where ever he has been building houses. I know some might think, 'hey, wait, how's he gone for six months? isn't he just a carpenter?' True. But keep in mind that there's no modern transportation. People walked everywhere. If they were lucky they had a donkey or a horse to ride, but most of the time they hoofed it. Settlements and cities are separated by large distances, even in small countries. Joseph had to go where there was work, and he had to walk there, stay and complete the project and then walk home. It's not so crazy when you think about it that way.

He comes back and finds Mary very, very pregnant. Joseph strikes himself in the face, dresses in sackcloth and weeps, throwing himself to the ground. He cries out, "How can I lift up my face to the Lord God? What prayer can I make about this girl? I received her as a virgin from the temple of the Lord, and I have not protected her. Who has deceived me? Who did this evil in my house, and defiled the virgin? Is not the history of Adam repeated in me? In the very house of his glory, the serpent came and found Eve alone - the same has happened to me."

Joseph blames himself for not guarding Mary well enough so that some 'snake' snuck into the 'garden'. *waggles eyebrows*

He rises and asks Mary why she has betrayed God. Why she has humiliated her soul and forgotten all that God has done for her?

Mary, weeping, swears to God that she has done no wrong. That no man has touched her.

Of course Joseph asks, basically, well then how'd *that* happen?

Mary responds that she doesn't know how it happened. She doesn't understand how the baby came to be in her womb. The author's note holds that "An element of Mary's tradition holds that she did not try to explain or justify her condition. Instead she 'kept all these things, pondering them in her heart' (Luke 2:19), keeping private her experience of a mystery that is fundamentally inexpressible."

But I was thinking. Maybe she really meant that she didn't understand how the pregnancy had happened, mechanically speaking. She knows that the angel (Gabriel) told her that she would be overshadowed and bear a child, but not in the manner of all women. And so it was. But *how*? She has no idea. All she knows it that it did not happen in the normal fashion.

Not as poetic or meaningful a thought, but I find it interesting.

Does God Change?

I blame Susanne. Again. I think it was one of the posts on Tradition and whether or not it should be changed (and the answer is no, for Tradition. Little 't' traditions are different.) where somewhere in the comments the idea that does God change got brought up. And it's sort of been stewing in the back of my mind.

It reminded me, somehow, of something I said in my old posts on the death penalty. That God does not change. He is the same God in the Old Testament as He is in the New. Which, for the purposes of those posts, was about showing that if God approved of the death penalty under certain circumstances in the Old Testament then there must still be approval of the death penalty in the New Testament.

We tend to think of God differently for some reason, but He didn't really change. We think of Christ as...nice and cuddly basically. It's all about love. And the God of the Old Testament is all about wrath and punishment. But if you step back and look, there are instances of love from God in the Old Testament. Actually, the entire act of creation is one of love on the grandest scale. There are moments of kindness, even. Forgiveness. There's punishment, sure. But so there are in the New.

I tend to think of it as the evolving relationship of a parent to a child. Keeping in mind that all analogy or metaphor used to speak of God falls far short of the reality and has inherent flaws, of course. When you're a small child your parent seems harsh and authoritarian. There's a certain kind of relationship. You're too small to understand the reasoning behind things that you should or shouldn't do. It is very much a dictatorial relationship. But once you've become an adult, your relationship with your parent changes. You're more on a level with them. (Which is one place where the analogy falls far short, admittedly.) You understand better the reasoning and can be directed more gently.

Part of the problem is that we can only see things after they have occurred. We are incredibly limited creatures and have no way to grasp the entire plan. We have bits and pieces, but we're really just reacting to what has happened and guessing at what might happen. God knows everything. He knows what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen for all time. So things that might seem odd to us are really just parts of the plan - necessary bits that we can't quite wrap our heads around because we don't get it all.

This is basically how I look at it: "God moves in extremely mysterious, not to say, circuitous ways. God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players*, to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time."Footnote to above: * ie., everybody. - Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (Gratuitous GO quote!)

Another thought. The idea that God might change is actually fairly terrifying. It' have a being of infinite and ultimate power. There is nothing that you can do to this being. It created you. It created the rules of the universe, the principles upon which everything operates and is sustained. Let's say that one day God changes. He changes His mind about gravity. *whoosh* Bye bye! God as a mutable person is a bad thing. It takes us back to the pagan pantheons, who were moody and extremely human in their motivations. One second they were on your side, the next they weren't. They were projections of humanity onto the world. God is not like that. The world is a reflection of God, covered over and stained, but still a reflection of Him. If He changes, the world changes. Reality changes and nothing is certain.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 12

Chapter 12 picks up when Mary has finished her portion of the weaving project. She takes the scarlet and the purple to the priest and he blesses her, "O Mary, the Lord has magnified your name, and you shall be blessed in all the generations of the earth."

Mary, happy, heads over to Elizabeth, her kinswoman. Who, as we recall, is the wife of the high priest Zachariah and the mother of St. John the Forerunner. When she arrives, Elizabeth is working on scarlet thread. Presumably *not* for the same project, since Elizabeth was not a virgin. Notice the scarlet of martyrdom and/or sacrifice again?

Here we have a scene that is also presented in Luke, where St. John leaps in his mother's womb at the presence of Christ so near him, within Mary. And Elizabeth proclaims, "Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Look how the child in me leaps and blesses you!" So this is six months since the veil project began, because that was about the time when Zachariah was struck dumb for doubting the Lord.

Mary seems to have...almost pushed the fantastical nature of her pregnancy from her mind in this chapter. She knows that something out of the ordinary and important has happened and is continuing to happen, but she doesn't seem to dwell on it. Like she's just trying to live her life normally.

Mary remains with Elizabeth for three months and her pregnancy progresses. She becomes afraid because her pregnancy is becoming impossible to hide, so she goes home and hides in her home from the rest of Israel.

At this point in time she's sixteen years old, so she's been married to Joseph for three years.

Nicodemus Archleone

I've been thinking about Nicodemus lately. Due to the dark fic and all, pretty much.

I wonder who he really is. There've been hints that Nic has been around since the beginning, since the Nails and the Cross and the Denari and the Noose. (Yes, I did just Unnecessarily Capitalise All Those Words.) And there was also, I think, a subtle hint that Nic might, if he gave up Anduriel's coin, be a potential Knight of the Cross. Though if he really is 2,000 years old he'd mummify pretty quickly without Anduriel, unless the Archangel who gives him the sword fixes that. Which is possible, of course.

Could Nicodemus be his real name? The only Nicodemus I can think of is the one who helped Joseph of Arimathea bury Christ. So unless something happened after that he doesn't seem like a good candidate for being a happy partner to a Fallen angel.

Here's my wacky theory!

Nicodemus is Judas. It would explain how he got ahold of the powerful relic that is the Noose, and it would explain his mad hate on for all things God. It would explain why he's the head of the Denarians, and why he's theoretically redeemable and good enough for a Sword. So maybe he hung himself but before he was quite dead the Fallen hopped down into the coins (or were they in the coins before he was given them?) and Anduriel made him an offer.

Nicodemus means 'conqueror of the people' by the way.

Fic - no title. damn. can't post it til I get home anyway, since I don't have the prompt saved in my email

I was tired. Not physically, though there was that little aching sensation in my limbs and head that told me I was pushing too hard. No, this was mental. This last ParaNet case had not ended well. Not enough information, not enough time and it had turned bloody before everything was done.

I needed to relax. I needed not to think.

I dropped everything off at my apartment and fed Mister. Then I grabbed Mouse and an overnight bag I kept packed and ready and headed back out. The drive out to Marcone's place didn't take very long. It was past midnight in the middle of winter. No one was out who didn't have to be out.

The guard on duty at the front gate recognized my car, but he did the fully security check anyway. Marcone did not hire substandard goons. They were all very, very good at their jobs. Once I was cleared he retreated back to his little hut and opened the gates for me. He would also be calling up to the house to let them know I was coming. Routine.

Random Mafia Goon #34 was waiting at the top of the driveway by the time the Beetle sputtered up. By the looks of him he'd been waiting a little too long. He wasn't wearing a heavy enough coat and was shivering a little. Someone hadn't read their report on me thoroughly. I got myself and Mouse out of the car and we went up the steps and into the house, leaving Goon to park my car somewhere where it wouldn't be bringing down the property values. Hendricks was waiting in the front hall, toasty and warm. He might even have been glowing a little with radiated heat.

"Boss'll be out in a bit. He's on a call." I grunted and waved in acknowledgment. Mouse paused long enough to shake Hendricks' hand and then followed me to our little room at the back of the house. My dog had better manners than I did. Of course, my dog was also smarter than I was, so it wasn't that big of a shock.

The room wasn't meant to be a guest bedroom. It was spare and barely decorated. Someplace to stow someone if you really had to. A single bed, short enough that my legs dangled off at the knees if I tried to lay out on it, a nightstand and a closet. The feature I'd chosen it for was the door that led out onto Marcone's giant back porch. Portico. Whatever a porch is called when it's the size of half a football field and has levels. I closed the door from the house into the room but didn't lock it, dropped my bag onto the bed and then unlocked the door to the outside.

Mouse sat down by the door, jaws parted in a doggy grin as he watched me strip and toss the clothes onto the bed beside my bag. Nude, I took a few deep breaths and concentrated, focusing on the spell I needed. It was a fairly simple one, the same spell that Terra had taught to Billy and the other Alphas. The tricky part came in picturing the wolf I wanted to become. But having hung with the Alphas for so long and having been wolf-ish through the use of that hexenwulf belt, it took me less time to get the spell right than it had the kids when they were learning it.

I breathed in, muttered the spell, and in the next breath I was wolf. I shook myself out, fur fluffing up and then settling back down. Mouse padded around, inspecting and then wandered back over to the outside door. Standing on his back legs he pushed down on the handle and his weight bore the door open, wind catching it and flinging it back. I was still stretching everything out, testing limbs when he came back around and nosed me in the butt. I jumped and whirled, snaping at him in surprise. Mouse just bared his teeth, reminding me of who was alpha around here. I whined and rolled over, giving him my belly. He licked my chin and then nosed me again, rolling me back over.

I stood and let Mouse lead the way. We trotted over the expanse of the porch and then we were out from under the roof, crunching through the snow. Mouse glanced back at me, grinned and wagged his tail, and we were off.


They played for hours.

I watched from the kitchen, warm coffee at hand as they chased one another, chased poor hapless bunnies, chased the snow itself. They barked and rolled, tackling each other and nipping playfully at thick fur. It looked like fun. Like children playing - carefree and happy.

He is battered, tired and strained with too much pain and stress building up over and over again, pressing on cracks that had been inexpertly plastered over. Most people would either give up and have a break down or relieve their stress some other way. Sex is an ever popular choice. But Harry did none of that. Harry came to my home in the middle of the night and turned into a wolf.

I'd asked him once, the next morning over coffee why. He'd told me that he could let go when he was the wolf. He didn't have to think about anything except for what his senses were telling him and what instinct wanted to do if he didn't want to. Nothing else he had found gave him the option of just shutting down like that.

They came to the kitchen door near dawn. Giant, primal shadows against the white of the snow. Harry as a wolf was huge and dark furred, and yet still impossibly slender next to his own dog. Mouse knocked, thumping one huge paw against the door beside it's handle. I rose and opened it, letting them in.

There was a bowl of water waiting and they both lapped it up, Harry with joyful canine abandon, splashing water out onto the tile and Mouse with far more care. It was sad, really. His dog had better manners than he did.

Once done, Harry sat in the door leading back into the house and looked at me, then yawned rather pointedly I thought. I double-checked the locks on the outside door and then we headed into the house and up the stairs. My men had been briefed about my occasional canine visitors and none of the ones that we passed made any comment aside from a polite 'good night'.

In my room, by the time I finished my ablutions, Mouse was sprawled on the extra large dog bed I'd had installed near the heating vent. Harry was still up, sitting in the middle of my bed, staring at my bathroom door. Have you ever had a wolf stare intently at you? It's disturbing, even when you know the wolf in question. I climbed up into bed and Harry shifted, giving me room to get comfortable.

I reached up a clicked off the lights and Harry shifted on the bed, laying down so that his shaggy head was snugged up against my side. I settled my hand against the top of his head, fingers rubbing and scratching behind his ears as we both closed our eyes to sleep.

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 11

This chapter picks up with Mary spinning the scarlet thread she had been assigned to weave for the veil for the Holy of Holies. I wonder how often a new veil was needed. We know that when Christ died the curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom, which was something impossible for a human being to do. Is it possible that the veil that was destroyed at Christ's death was the same one that His mother helped to weave?

She goes out to a well to get water which is when the Archangel Gabriel appears to her. Or, not so much at first. As she's out at the well she hears a voice from nowhere: 'Rejoice, favored one, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.' Here's the author's note for this verse: "'Rejoice, favored one, the Lord is with you' are the words the angel spoke to Mary, as recorded in the first chapter of Luke. Xaire was a standard greeting, and is often translated 'Hail,' but literally means 'Rejoice.' The next term, 'favored one' resonates with it pleasingly in Greek; the verb xarito'o, which is in the family xaris, meaning favor, grace, or gift."

She looks around, sees no one and hurries back home. Mary takes up the purple thread this time and begins to spin. Anyone think it's significant that she's spinning the royal color when the Archangel Gabriel appears?

Gabriel appears and tells Mary that she has found grace before God and from His Word she would conceive. Mary thinks about this and then asks if she will conceive and bring forth as all women bear children. Gabriel tells her no, that she will be overshadowed by the power of the Lord and the child born from her will be the Son of the Most High, called Jesus because He will save the people from their sins. In Hebrew Jesus' name would be Joshua, which means 'Yahweh Saves'. It becomes Iesus in the Greek, which is how we come to have Jesus as a name.

Mary responds with the line we all know, 'Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.' Thus for the Annunciation.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I'm developing a freaking tic here!

*takes deep, calming breaths*

Once again, Baptist lady in front of me has thrown into conversation the phrase, 'oh, that's right, you don't believe in the Bible'.


First, I never said that. What I have said, multiple times, is that I do not believe that everything that is in the Bible is literally true. I have even demarcated where I think that shift, in general, occurs in the Old Testament stories. I have explained it. I have explained that the Bible is not, in fact, a book, but a collection of documents that originally had different purposes, different authors. Some historical, some theological, etc. Poetry, for pete's sake! Is there spiritual value in all of these documents? Yes.

Second, what does that phrase even MEAN? Do you mean that I don't believe the Bible exists? If that's the case, well, that's just dumb. Okay? Do you mean that I don't believe the Bible is the means to my salvation? If that's the case then yeah. You're right. I don't. It's a tool. I BELIEVE IN God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The Bible is not the core of Christianity! It is not Bible-anity. I- I- *chews on the furniture*



It is NOT my fault that you pay no attention when told what the deposit procedures are. NOT. I don't MAKE the accounting policies, I just inform and enforce them.




I just got my Season 1 discs for Sherlock YAY! DO THE DANCE OF GLEE!

And my Season 2 discs for Merlin. MORE DANCING!

Now all I need is...oh, oh wait, is that

Yes, yes it was. That was the delivery of my Summer Knight audio book.


And I wrote a new kink. Well, okay, that was last night. But it was successful, which I didn't find out until this morning, so we're counting it. GO TEAM ME!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 10

Pht. Sleep. What is that?

So...the story picks up when it is time to make a new veil for the temple. The priests call for the undefiled virgins of the house of David and Zacharias includes Mary as one of them. By this point Mary has been wed to Joseph for several years, so it's odd that Zacharias counts her as a virgin still, right? That bit gets sort of cleared up a little later on, but we'll get there. At this point, it's enough to note that Mary, though wed and living in Joseph's house is still counted as a virgin by the priests of the temple.

Lots were cast as to which virgin would weave which colors and it fell to Mary to weave the scarlet and the true purple. I'm not sure how much you might remember about colors and what they mean (and the meaning can vary from culture to culture too) but scarlet tends to be associated with sacrifice because it's the color of blood. I know, it's a stretch, but there you are. Shocking, really. :) And purple is a royal color. It was difficult and expensive to make and so it was restricted not only to the rich, but to those who were royalty or gods (or both, depending on the mythology of the society) to set them apart.

The last line of this chapter notes that it was at this time that Zacharias fell silent. This Zacharias is the father of St. John the Forerunner, so we know that this is when he was struck silent by the angel for doubting that his wife would conceive as they had been told. Which makes it six months until the conception of Jesus.

eta: AH haahaahaaaaaaaa....I just went out to put my cup in the sink and my sister was all, 'WHY ARE YOU STILL UP? IT'S PAST YOUR BEDTIME!' :)

Hi dears...

Um, my brain has been eaten by an amusing thing that has, you know, been distracting me. It's fun!
Anyhow. I've been rewatching Rome, as I believe I mentioned in passing. It's an awesome show. I've mentioned before that I watch all the extras on my dvds, right? So all the commentaries, etc. It takes me longer to finish a set that way, but it's interesting stuff.

Some things that the commentaries have reminded me of, or that I didn't know before:

1. My aversion to wine is just my German blood giving one last screw you to the Roman Republic. One tactic of the Roman armies was to introduce wine to the country that they were invading, in a ploy to get the native peoples addicted to it and drunk, making them easier to conquer. It worked in Gaul (France), but when they tried it on the Germanic people, it didn't take.

2. Women are mean. We're twisty and vindictive and holy crap it's probably a good thing that men have been in charge and not us. They just tend to beat each other bloody and call it good. Women will plot and plot and then poison you without ever batting an eye.

2a. The women in the Roman Republic had no outward power. They were the property of their fathers or husbands. But they were clever and manipulative when they wanted to be and ran a lot more operations than people realized at the time.

3. The concept of man as absolute head of house is a terrible concept. Terrible. The Roman pater familias proves it. He owned his family and could pretty much do whatever he liked with them. Sometimes he'd even be legally and spiritually required to do things that we would consider horrible and criminal. For example, one of the main characters, Lucius has been away at war for eight years. He's a military man so he's been in Gaul, under Caesar. He comes home to find his wife holding an infant a few months old. Understandably, since they didn't get 'leave' back then, and he'd been way too far away to make house calls, he's 'unhappy'. His wife claims that it's the child of his thirteen year old daughter and a drover's son. Which doesn't make him happy either, because the boy has 'damaged' his property without his permission. Really. That's his issue here. The reality, though, is that the baby is his wife's son with another man. Because she'd been told that her husband was dead by the paymaster who'd been in charge of giving the military families their husbands wages. So she'd found someone else. Not a good thing, but understandable, really.

Not so much. Lucius is actually expected to kill his wife and the child if he finds out because she's committed a crime against him. Even though she didn't cheat on him, not knowingly, she still caused harm to his family name and reputation and in order to expunge that he has to kill her. Being that it's a drama, he does find out at the end of the first season and is working himself up to having to do the deed (he really does love her but the society at the time...he had, it was ingrained in him as awful as that may seem to us) and she jumps to her death to spare him the pain of having to kill her. But she begs him not to kill the boy.

4. Julius Caesar was awesome. He was a power hungry bastard, but that doesn't make him less of a genius.

5. Caesar Augustus was even more awesome. - I need to find biographies of these two to read.

On to unrelated to Rome things.

I've realized that I have no clue what feminists really want. I'm rereading the Sookie Stackhouse vampire books, remember? And a while back Zuhura mentioned that she'd read the first one and hated it, that it had no feminist themes - which is not why she hated it, I think, though she didn't explain why. She just didn't like the book, which is okay. And don't you all feel better that I'm okay with people not liking things I like? ;)

But anyway. I'm on to like book four and here's what I see. You've got Sookie who is a single(ish) woman living on her own. She holds down a steady job, pays for all her own things and isn't hunting for a man to take care of her. She's got men interested in taking care of her, but she doesn't jump from one guy to the next to protect her or pay for her living.

She fights her own fights. Yes, given that it's a series with vampires and were-things and other supernatural beasties she is often outclassed and needs assistance. But that's because she's not superstrong, not because she's a girl. Sookie's been in a few fights and held her own - even won against things that were much stronger than her.

So she's tough, self-sufficient and not a weeping flower. What part of any of that is bad? She's aware of and in control of her own sexuality - she chooses not to sleep with the vast majority of the men who she's attracted to, which is what a normal woman does as well. She's neither a blushing virgin nor a slut. So...yeah. I basically don't get what's objectionable about the series from that point of view. So I figure maybe I don't know what feminists want.

It's set in the South, so the men (unless they're Yankees or poorly raised) are always going to treat women a certain way. Maybe that's the difference. I don't see the desire of the men to treat Sookie like a doll as bad. If Sookie was passive and just let them, that would be bad. That'd be un-Southern, too by the way.

Note to Self

I will not write fanfic at work anymore.

Or at least I will not write that THOSE fics at work. Fluffy non-sex fics I feel okay getting away with. THOSE fics, not so much. Mmmm...none of that stops me from thinking and planning. :)

The meme is eating my life. I'm okay with that.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rewatching Rome

I really love this series. But that's not the point. I just realised that I feel badly for the troops who had to follow Pullo and Lucius around. All they do is whine and bitch at each other and try and solve Lucius' marital problems in between fighting and killing lots and lots of people.

I can just see them rolling their eyes and muttering amongst themselves about how those two are like an old married couple.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Lure on the 'Anon'

*eyes are glazed over*

So...spending a lot of time on the Dresden kinkmeme. A lot. I've filled...only three. Okay. That's not like an addiction or anything. And even when I fill the other ones I'm eyeing it won't be an addiction. Because I can stop at any time! But back to the three I've done.

Two of them are fluffy and sweet.

One...not so much.

The two that are nice I'd have no problem de-anoning for. Because they're nice. You've seen one of them, the Geekery one. Nice, yeah?

The third. The third is dark. Like, okay, I love dark fic. I love it. But I've always been too ashamed to write it and share it because, um, DARK. And there's always this idea that if people see the dark things that excite you that they'll be disgusted. Which could happen. Dark is not for everyone. I get that. I get that not all people share my kinks in fic or in life. But there's that normal fear of being rejected.

But the anon *solves* all that. I can write and be dark and kinky and awful and no one knows that it's *me*. I know that this is the internet and no one knows me in person anyway, but the anon is just another layer. I can write a really sweet fic one second and then torture somebody the next and no one knows it's the same person writing.

It's beautiful.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 9

The widowers are assembled, each with his staff. The high priest takes each man's staff and takes them with him into the temple and prays.

After he has finished praying he comes back out and begins handing the staves back to their owners. None of them had a sign upon them. Joseph is the last man and as he is handed it a dove flies out of the staff and perches on his head. Interesting note, there is another version of this story where Joseph's staff buds with lilies. 'In the Christian West, this is understood as an emblem of his virginity.' Which doesn't mesh with the rest of this text, since when the priest tells Joseph that he has been called to receive the virgin of the Lord into his keeping Joseph balks at it, saying that he is an old man and has sons. He fears that this will make him the laughing stock of Israel. But the priest reminds him of the fate of those who go against God's will and Joseph capitulates and takes Mary into his house.

'He said to her, "Mary, behold, I have received you out of the temple of the Lord my God, and now I am leaving you in my home, for I must go and work at building my homes. I will return to you quickly. May the Lord God take care of you."'

So Mary is wed, and then left in charge of the household and an unknown number of children. She was maybe 12, 13 years old when she became the mother and mistress of this household. Can you imagine that? It seems so freaky now, because at that age kids are still figuring out life and which end is up. But in the past there was no such concept of childhood. Children grew up hard and fast because they had to and they dealt with many things that we don't believe that they're capable of dealing with now.

Fic: Geekery

Note: Just for the record, if you see this at the meme, don't rat me out! I'm anon from shame for a few of my fills over there. That's the joy of anon, I can write with abandon and have no fear of being judged...

If you'd asked me what I'd be doing tonight I would have said something about staying home, reading a good book, maybe playing around down in the lab. Normal every day stuff. Being trapped inside a basement with Marcone and Billy the Boy Werewolf would not have been on the list. But here I was, nine o'clock at night, warded into a fairly cramped basement with Marcone against the far wall and Billy semi-naked beside me.

Marcone had handed Billy his suit jacket when he shifted back into human form so at least he was mostly covered. So there we were, safe enough behind the ward, but stuck until sunrise. Marcone was just sitting there, eyes closed. Hell, he might have even been asleep. I, on the other hand, was very much awake. And very much bored. We'd been here for an hour already and I was not going to fall asleep braced against the bare stone wall and the scratchy concrete floor. Billy didn't look like he was going to get any rest either.

"So. Wanna talk about baseball?" Billy shook his head and laughed.

"Hell no." There was another minute or so of silence. "Did you hear about the villains for the next Nolan Batman?"

"Huh. No."

"Right, right. No internet. So they've cast Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy as Bane."

"Anne Hatha- isn't she that Princess Diaries chick? How'd she get cast as Catwoman?!?"

"Not a clue. I'm actually more concerned that you've seen the Princess Diaries right now. Look, she's a good actress. Did you see her in Brokeback Mountain? Or what about the new Alice in Wonderland? I don't think you're giving her enough credit here. Every actor starts out in less than Emmy worthy movies."

"Hey. I can't sit in a theater without blowing out the projectors. I have to take what I can get at the drive-in. And sure, she's a fine actress. But sexy? Not so much. Catwoman is a predator. She goes toe to toe with Batman and holds her own through sheer freaking attitude sometimes. I don't get that vibe off of Hathaway. And who the hell is Tom Hardy?"

"I think you'll be surprised with her. You've just got to trust Nolan on this one. Hardy was...uh...have you seen Inception?"

"No." I said it sullenly. Everyone was talking about it and then when they realized I hadn't seen it they'd shut up because they didn't want to 'ruin it' for me. "As soon as I can, I will. But I haven't had the chance."

"You are seriously deprived, man. Anyway. Hardy's in that, and he was in Nemesis way back. Oh! And Black Hawk Down."

"Don't know 'im." I could feel Billy roll his eyes even though I couldn't see it in the dim lighting.

"Right. Well, I'll find pictures for you sometime. He's good, though I wonder how they're going to do Bane with him. Bane's a huge guy in the comics."

"Didn't they already have Bane in the movies?"

"Schumacher." Billy could put a lot of scorn into just that one word and he added on a spitting sound, just for effect. "Those don't count. They're a travesty and an insult to the characters."

"Don't hold back, let us know how you really feel about it." I grinned, laughing. "What do you want to see in this one? It's gonna be Nolan's last, right?"

"That's what he says. I kind of hope not though. The man's done beautiful work. Oddly enough, I think I want to see them introduce Robin. They've had the major villains, or will have - Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face, Ra's al Ghul..."

"Can he be a major villain if no one who's not a Batman geek knows who he is? Everyone knows the others even if they aren't fans, but al Ghul is sort of obscure."

"Hey, he's a major player in the comics, so he counts. Hell, he's taken on Superman and come out in one piece. Immortal, crazy, obsessed with fixing the world...hey! I think he might actually be one of your enemies!"

"So funny." I flipped him off good-naturedly. "But really, Robin? The kid in the short-shorts?"

"Robin's suit has had pants for at least twenty years." Billy's mouth had been open, but it wasn't him speaking. We both turned our heads to stare across the room at Marcone. He had opened his eyes and was leaning forward, just a bit.

"The short pants were last used by the second Robin, Jason Todd. His successor's suit was redesigned, adding in armour and greater weaponry. One of the changes was pants, similar to those on the Bat suit. If Nolan was to introduce a Robin character to his canon it would need to be an amalgamation of at least two of the comics canon Robins. I cannot picture the original Grayson Robin faring well in Mr. Nolan's darker world. Todd would fit with the violence and grittiness, but his popularity has always been questionable. I suppose that might not be an issue in the films given that he wouldn't be the replacement for Grayson. Drake would do nicely - he's unquestionably the smartest and arguably borderline sociopathic in addition, but his back story would have to be utterly altered given that his entry into the Batman mythos is predicated on Grayson's story.

"Brown wasn't Robin long enough to make an impression, though I suppose the allure of having the first female Robin on screen might make her a possibility. Damian is simply out of the question. His back story would require changes to the canon of the movies already established and a rather large leap forward in time to make it feasible. Given my choice I would have a version of Drake appear, but I suspect that they will stick with the name of Grayson and tweak the character to fit better in universe."

I couldn't even talk. I was just staring. Billy leaned forward, intent.

"How do you get 'borderline sociopathic' for Drake? He's brilliant, and intense, no question. But he's a good guy."

"He is a stalker. Why does everyone dismiss that particular fact? He focused on one person to the extent that that person took over his entire life. Everything he did from early child hood on up was designed to allow him to be close to the focus of his obsession. I'll grant you that he didn't turn violent, but Jason's death and Batman's decline prompted him into action, allowed him to actually be with the object of his desires during the earlier stages of puberty. There is no telling what twists he might have taken if left to his own devices. It's really rather good for the DC universe that he obsessed with Batman and Grayson rather than Luther or some other villain. His focus is laser tight - the Mission. Do you doubt that he would do anything that Batman asked, if it was for the good of the Mission? I don't. His morality is almost entirely tied up in what Batman has said is good and evil. Drake is the perfect successor for the mantle. He is also the perfect fail safe for Batman. Would Grayson have the strength of will to kill Wayne if it came to that?"

Billy paused. "No." It was admitted with great reluctance.

"So Drake it is. He would, if it was necessary, kill Wayne to spare the legacy and the Mission of the Bat. He would kill one of the few people on earth that he feels anything for because it would be what that man wanted. How is that not outside the realms of normal mental function?"

"Fine, fine. Drake's a ticking time bomb. But he's a weapon on the right side. The good guys would never let him go too far."

"Only because he's too dangerous to be left to chance. I would love to see his character done right in a film." Marcone was leaning his elbows on his thighs, intent on the conversation. I bit my lip, grinning. The look on his face was usually reserved for hostile takeovers - planning out attack and counter-measure.

"So, big is your geek room?" I tried to make my voice sound normal, to repress the unvoiced laughter, but it was impossible.

"I have-" Marcone stopped and his eyes cleared suddenly. I could hear his teeth clack together he shut his mouth so fast. I scooted forward a bit, so I could see him better. There was a faintly darker color creeping up his throat and his ears, coloring his cheeks. I couldn't help it. I laughed.

Billy shook his head as I flopped back onto the floor, smacking my head in the process and just let it roar out. Marcone huffed and stood, shoes scraping against the concrete.

"Really, Dresden. Am I not allowed to have hobbies?" And then he moved past me and pushed my legs out of his way to take my former space beside Billy. The two of them eyed me for a second and then bent their heads together, arguing point and counterpoint.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 8

Hey, so it's quarter to midnight here. I'm posting this and then going to bed. I am being distracted by things and stuff. :) It's all good...

So the first verse of this chapter is Joachim and Anna leaving the temple, amazed that Mary never turned back, or cried for them I assume. Mary remains in the temple, living like a 'nurtured dove' and receives food from the hand of an angel.

Do you guys think she was literally fed by an angel? Or is that a metaphor for her caretaker?

Verse two picks up when Mary is twelve years old. The priests are trying to decide what to do with Mary since she will start menstruating soon and she needs to be out of the sanctuary before that happens. So the high priest (Zacharias) goes in before the altar of the Lord and prays about Mary. It is revealed to him that he should call the widowers of the people together, with their staves. Whichever of them has a sign from the Lord upon him will take Mary to be his wife. So the word is sent out for all the widowers of Judea to come to the temple.


I'm at work and I have things (work things) to do, and I have things (not work things) that I want to do but which I cannot do because they 'not work things'. So I'm bored. Working, but half-heartedly. :)

My trainer, Julie Anne, has asked me to do a little 'success story' blurb for her. The health center she works at is updating their website and they're redoing the trainers' profiles with success stories from clients. And I'm both a success and a work in progress. So what should I include? I don't know how long to make it, etc. I'm up to abut 65 lbs lost at this point, and I've lost at least 4 sizes in pants/skirts. Tops are a bit harder because I am 'blessed'. *rolls eyes* So only a size or two there. But it's going, and I can feel the muscles under my skin, which is awesome.

Anyway. I've done this before but, since I'm *bored* and cannot do what I want to do for fear of someone important coming past my desk and catching me being naughty, random question time!

Susanne's the only one who ever plays my silly games, but that's okay.

Ask me something, anything. :)

Fic: The Women

I have no idea where I was going with just sort of peters out.


Britt would chase anything that moved. That had always been the way, ever since he'd discovered the species known as girl. He was neither picky nor discriminating.

Was she pretty and willing? Then he was there.

Blonde, brunette, red head, short, tall, whatever. It never mattered.

And there was no predicting who he would bring back to the house. Never any rhyme or reason. He didn't go through a phase of one or the other. It was just whoever caught his eye at that moment.

So it didn't take long for Kato to notice that Britt's pattern of no pattern had changed.

It started with brunettes. One brunette leaving the house early in the morning meant nothing. But when it was a brunette every single time for a month it became important. A hint that something had changed. So Kato started to pay closer attention to the women.

There were subtle changes along the way. Long curly hair disappeared for straight hair. Then the hair got progressively shorter, though it stopped around bob length. Soft curves gave way to runners' bodies, long and lean. Then came the women who clearly focused on strength as well - delicate feminine muscles that tensed and moved beneath smooth skin with unconscious grace. Beautiful, every one.

Britt hovered there for a while, seeing women of that general description for several months. Then brunettes gave way to women with sleek black hair. These women tended to be colder, more arrogant than the others and Kato had no idea where Britt was finding them. They ignored Kato, treated him like a piece of the scenery and none of them ever lasted long.

Then came a boys' night. In the aftermath, when Kato woke the next morning on his stomach in a nest of blankets and pillows in the middle of Britt's floor, he found Britt staring at him. His expression was intent and very serious until he realized that Kato was awake. Then he became all loud noises and jerky movements, poking at everything and anything.

The women went from pale mistresses of the night or tanned sun goddesses to slightly different shades. The woman who lasted the longest, a whole month, was Korean. She at least had been polite, right up until the fight. Britt had forgotten about her and their date, gotten lost in the details of Kato's latest project which he was fascinated by even though he was forbidden to touch anything and she'd stormed into the garage. The sight of them greasy and crouched next to one of the cars stopped her short and her eyes flicked from Britt to Kato and then back again.

She had spit something that was probably unpleasant at them in Korean and then turned and stormed out again, muttering under her breath the entire way.

Britt had looked puzzled and Kato had just shrugged and gone back to pointing out the newest modifications he'd made, flicking Britt's hands every time he tried to look with his hands.

Uncomfortable Conversations

Ever had one of those conversations with a parent where you know that they're hearing what you say but they're not listening. They don't want to know the thing that you're saying, so they're nodding along and saying 'yes, yes, but.'

I have this same conversation with my mother every so often. I've been having it with her since I was about 14 and it goes the same way every time.

'Mom, you do know that I - '

'Yes, I know. But I think - '

So why do I bother? It's a dead air conversation.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So, um, I'm considering posting the mpreg fic to MafiaBanter, even though it's only just started, etc. I'm kind of loving it and my beta loves it...

BUT I need a title.

Thoughts? Do any of you see any issues with it I need to clean up before I post?

And most importantly, title ideas! I *suck* at titles.

I Love the Interwebs!



*stalks it*


I just saw the announcement that the publication date of Ghost Story has been pushed back to July 26, 2011.

Given that the reasoning is we can either have a half-assed story in April or a whole-assed story in July, I'm okay with the wait. But I reserve my right to pout a little! My entire Dresden Files reread schedule was based on the April release date! Oh, does this mean I'll have to read the series *again* in a few months? Oh, drat. :p

I'm actually really pleased that Butcher would rather push the release date back than let some deadline fuck with the story.

*bounces in chair*

Guess what's back tonight?

Guess. Guess.

WHITE COLLAR! *spins around happily*

Neal! Peter! Peter and Neal! And Elizabeth too!

And Mozzie! Mozzie better not be dead. I mean, I like Paul Blackthorne and all (hiya Harry!), but I love Mozzie and he must not be dead. Mustn't.

*returns to gazing upon the pretties*

Also, I want a hat. I want a Neal-hat.

And I can't decide if I should write more Kato/Britt or more Dresden mpreg. I mean, I'll do both eventually. But which do I want to do now?

Doubts = ze Debil!


One thing that annoys me every single time I see it is the immediate accusation toward *anyone* who is having doubts or questions about their faith that it's ze Debil! *pauses for overly dramatic bumbumBUM music to play* messing with them.

Look, doubt and questioning is a natural part of a healthy and active human intellect. We stagnate and die when we don't think about things and thinking about things, poking at them and worrying at the edges can sometimes lead to doubts. It's natural. It can be painful, especially if you come up with answers that don't match what you want them to be, but it's a good thing.

If God didn't want us to question then we'd have the intellect of a gerbil, okay? We don't. We're the smartest things on the planet. Well, aside from the dolphins and those two mice who aren't really mice. They don't count, though, cause they're not from around here originally. But I digress!

My belief is that people who jump on that particular band wagon at the first sign of thoughts in another human being are those who have had doubts, have been unable to find answers that satisfy them and instead of accepting reality and finding another way to move forward have turtled back into their shells and refuse to invite thought. They can't answer the questions and rather than put out any answers that have satisfied them, because they're afraid that they won't stand up to another persons scrutiny and that that will hurt their own faith, they accuse ze Debil! *bumbumBUM* who is a handy scapegoat since he's not about to appear and defend himself any time soon.

I also do not accept ze Debil! *bumbumBUM* made me do it. :p

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 7

In Chapter 7 Mary turns two. Joachim says that it is time to take Mary to the Temple so that they can fulfil their vows so that the Lord doesn't find them to be forsworn and their offerings unacceptable. Anna says that they need to wait until Mary is three, otherwise she might become homesick and cry for her mother and father all the time.

I'm not sure what the difference is between a child of two and a child of three being taken off to live with strangers and their longing for their parents, but there you go. It's decided and they keep Mary with them until she turns three.

At her third birthday Joachim calls for the 'undefiled daughters of the Hebrews' and they each take a lamp, lighting it so that 'the child will not turn back and her heart be captured from the temple of the Lord.' They escort the child to the temple and she is handed over to the priest.

He welcomes her, "The Lord has magnified your name to all generations of the earth. By you, unto the last of days, the Lord God will reveal redemption to the children of Israel." The priest sets her on the third step of the altar and the Lord pours out His grace upon her. This is the part where she dances with her feet sitting there. So very cute to imagine. :)

The notes for this are about the odd idea of turning a child over to priests to raise. We know that Hannah did it with Samuel, but did she come up with it or was it an established practice? If Hannah came up with it there must certainly have been women after her who made the same vow and some of those children must have been born girls. We don't really know, but there is at least one piece of evidence of a woman living in the temple. The Prophetess Anna is said to have been living in the temple for decades, and 'she did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day.' So while there were some places in the temple that Mary would have been forbidden by virtue of her femininity it's theoretically possible that she really was taken into the temple - perhaps in the court of the women - in a place designed for female children who had been dedicated to the temple.

Fic dump-ish post

Okay, additional bit from the end of the last part of the museum stuff from the mpreg Dresden fic that I am not officially writing:

Marcone never really woke up. I mean Gard and Hendricks got him dressed and on his feet between the two of them, muttering and cursing at them in Italian, but he was not fully conscious. It was worrying and I asked them to wait while I checked him out. I poked and prodded but couldn't find any spells clinging to him - he was just really, really worn out.

We exited the museum more or less together. There was a huge black van parked right in front of the doors. A guy appeared from around the far side and slid the door open, revealing an interior that was probably nicer than my apartment. Hendricks let Gard take Marcone and hopped up into the van, causing it's body to sink several inches, then reached back and took Marcone again, guiding the half-conscious man into a seat and buckling him in.

I wished I had a camera. It would impair the whole, 'never talking about this again' plan, but how many people got to see Marcone being handled like a sleepy toddler? My eyes wandered a little and I noticed that there was a form sitting in the seat to the far side of Marcone. It was hard to see around the boulder that is Cujo but the person looked small, nearly fragile. I caught a glimpse of shoulder length brown hair and wrists that looked like they would shatter in a stiff breeze and then Hendricks shifted and blocked my view entirely. Huh. Curiouser and curiouser.

Gard was talking to the random mafia guy as they walked back to the other side of the vehicle. Hendricks loomed over Marcone and slammed the door shut. Which is kind of impressive when it's a sliding door. As he did so I grinned and mimed taking a picture. Weird magical doings was no excuse for not giving Hendricks shit. The mafia-mobile took off and I headed home for a quick shower and then several hours of sleep.


And now for something else that I am totally not writing. You don't see it.

Kato stood on the bottom step of Britt's porch, staring at the pool. Britt was already in, paddling idly and grinning at him.

"C'mon. You've got the trunks on so you might was well get in."

"I do not want-"

"Yes you do. You *asked me* to teach you to swim. Weird thing is, you have to get in the water for that. So get on in here!" Britt kicked over to the edge of the pool and rested his arms on the lip, the small scar in his shoulder smooth and unnatural against his tan. "Don't make me come over there and drag you in."

Kato snorted and rolled his eyes. But he came out of the shade of the porch and walked cautiously over to the steps at the shallow end of the pool. Britt slipped under the water and swam over to meet him, emerging from the water with a little tidal wave.

"We will take this slow, yes?" Kato dropped the towel he'd been carrying to the deck and stepped onto the first step, then on down until he was waist deep in the warm water.

"Slow as can be. We've got tons of time, I'm an awesome swimmer, and Mr. Lobster over here," Britt dragged the pool float off the edge of the pool and into the water with him. "will be here for backup." Kato nodded and Britt swam a little farther back, giving Kato room to come off of the steps and stand on the bottom of the pool. "First lesson: floating!"

"I do not float. I sink."

"*Everybody* floats. You don't float because you start flailing around like a nut job. Watch." Britt released the lobster and lay back, arms spread out a little bit from his body, just letting the water hold him and move him. It was so quiet and peaceful with his ears under the water all he could hear was the dull thud of his own pulse and breath, the slick slide of the water around him. He stayed like that for a few minutes until a hand wrapped around his ankle, dragging at him. Britt swung his legs down and under him until he was standing again. Kato was just standing there, his hand still resting on the surface of the water, staring at him.

"What?" The other man just shook his head, lips pressing together.

"I cannot do that."

"Sure you can! It just takes a little practice." Britt slapped the water softly, patting it almost. "Look, I'm going to be holding you, okay? You've gotta get used to the feel of the water, the way it moves around you. You need to learn that it'll hold you up. And then you can trust it and not flop around and make yourself sink."

"You will not let me go." Suspicion was clear in Kato's black eyes and in the set of his shoulders.

"Hey, are we xiong di or not? I won't let you go. I swear I'm not fucking around with you here. Trust me." He dropped lower in the water, until his shoulders were covered and held out his arms, waiting. Kato hesitated, long enough that Britt felt a stab of pain - the fact that his friend didn't trust him enough for this hurt. Then Kato sighed and started to lean back into the water.

Britt had to move to actually get under Kato, but manage to get into position so that by the time he was more or less laying down Kato could feel Britt's arms resting beneath his shoulders and the small of his back.

"Now you're just gonna relax, okay? I've got you. You're safe. You just need to relax and let your body feel the water moving." They were good for a few minutes, Kato slowly relaxing from the quivering tenseness of fear and then the pool pump kicked in. The noise startled Kato, loud in his ears after the relative silence and his head dipped, water splashing up into his nose and eyes. He spluttered and kicked, hands flicking out and smacking Britt across the jaw without any real force.

Britt staggered at the shifting weight in his arms but maintained his position, arms under the twitching man, lifting him a little more in the water. The realization that Britt was still there sank in and Kato slowly managed to get himself under control again. He opened his eyes and wiped the water out of them, smiling sheepishly at his friend.

"Sorry." Britt just shook his head.

"No problem man. You good?"


"Wanna try the next part?"

"What is it?" His voice had lost the earlier suspicion. Kato no longer sounded like he thought Britt was playing an elaborate and nasty prank on him.

"Same thing, mostly. You float, but this time without touching. I'll keep my arms right under you, but just a little deeper than before so you have to trust the water." Kato considered and then nodded. "Great. Ready?" Another nod and Britt let his arms drop, just a little. The water bobbed Kato up and down so that every so often his back would hit the outstretched arms, letting him know they were really still there.

Britt waited, and watched. He could see when Kato began to relax into it, finding the peace that Britt always had in the slow movement of the water. Gradually he dropped his arms a little more and then a little more until they were a good half a foot beneath Kato - still there in case of trouble, but letting him float on his own.

Kato had closed his eyes at some point and was smiling a little, just a curl at one corner of his lips, nothing like his usual smirk. A breeze ruffled Britt's hair and he shivered. The wind was cool against the drying skin on his neck. He brought his arms back up under Kato and jiggled him a little, getting his attention.

"Feel good?" he asked when Kato focused on him and lifted his head out to hear better.

"Yes. It is very nice when I am not drowning." Britt grinned again.

"Then we're ready for the last part of floating." Kato quirked an eyebrow in question. "Tandem floating!" Britt slowly pulled his arms out from beneath his friend as Kato watched. As he lost his support Kato's arms naturally spread out a little, balancing himself against the water. Once Britt was satisfied Kato wasn't going to sink like a stone he leaned himself back into the water, legs popping up. He twitched his feet a bit paddling the water and then floated, arms out.

Slender, callused fingers brushed his, accidental at first and then with intent. They slipped over his hand and then curled, joining them together but not gripping tightly in fear. Just a light touch, reminding each of them that the other was there.

How Sympathetic Do You Need to Appear?

ID (Investigative Discovery) sort of sucked me in yesterday. I find those forensic/true crime shows fascinating. I sometimes think I'd like to go into forensics, only I'm not sure I'd want to make a career out of it. I just think that getting to learn all of the science and play with dead bodies/pigs would be fun and interesting. Same thing for being a medical examiner. Playing with the bodies and such would be interesting. The rest, not so much. Meh.

Anyway. One of the shows I saw was about a girl who was taken back to her dorm from a party and later found raped, beaten and badly burned. She died in the hospital from her wounds and the police picked up one guy who admitted to having been in her dorm and having sex with her. His story kept changing and he accused this other guy he knew of having come in after him and raping the girl. So the police pick this other guy up, who has two incidents of domestic violence on his record and arrest him and eventually take it to trial. Even though all they have on this second guy is the firsts accusation - and the first guy eventually admits to raping the girl and setting her on fire, rigging her dorm room door so it wouldn't open quickly to delay people being able to get in and put the fire out. Real charmer, that. So all they have on this second guy is accusation - no fingerprints, no DNA, no video. They try to fool him into thinking that they have some of that and the guy is very certain that they don't have *his*. He tells them to take his DNA, take whatever they want. They won't find a trace of him in the dorm or on the girl because he wasn't there and he didn't do anything. Which turns out to be true.

But the one cop that was investigating the case, when they were interviewing him for this show kept talking about the second guy, saying: 'He had no sympathy for this girl. He wasn't horrified, nothing.' Well, okay. But here's the thing: it's hard to be horrified by terrible things that happen to people you don't know. It takes something massive like the shootings in Arizona or September 11th or the Oklahoma City bomb. Those are massive and terrifying and make us afraid and sympathetic by sheer force.

Do terrible things happen to individuals? All the time. But unless we're right there or we know them or we've survived something similar it is very hard to work up a show of horror and sympathy. Are we supposed to break down weeping every time we hear about a murder? Do you have any idea how many people die every day by one form of violence or another? Society would be unable to function if we felt things that didn't involve us too deeply. I watch these shows and know that the deaths there are real - these aren't made-up people getting killed in painful ways, but real people. These represent real lives. And I'm sorry that they died, really. It's unfortunate. But I'm not sitting there sobbing in sympathy. I'm fascinated - both by the science and the detective work that goes into catching the killers and by the things that drive people to kill.

So what should people do? If we don't feel sympathy should we fake it? I can do that. We do it all the time to one degree or another. But if you're being questioned by the police should your first thought be, 'oh, I should look sad now'. Or should you, if you're not actually prostrate with grief, try to keep level and answer their questions? How much of a show of sympathy does society require before it's acceptable and doesn't make people think you're up to something evil?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Movie! Movie!

We saw The Green Hornet this afternoon. I had a hell of a time. It was funny and entertaining and well, hell. It was just fun! I want more!

And I also want (as I've said before) Kato/Britt fic! Where is it?!?

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 6

The first verse of Chapter 6 is set when Mary is six months old. Anna sets her down on the ground to test if she can stand. Mary takes seven steps and comes back to her mother. Anna picks her up, declaring that Mary will not walk on the ground again until she has been brought into the temple.

Anna makes a sanctuary in her bedroom and allows nothing common or unclean to be brought into it. I'm going to assume 'her bedroom' is Mary's, and not Anna's. :) The last line is interesting: 'And she called the undefiled daughters of the Hebrews, and they played with her.' The note is what I find interesting, 'The Greek verb here is ambivalent; it might be translated "diverted." It could also mean that the girls "led her aside," a euphemism indicating that they took care of her toilet training. Elijah uses it when he mocks the priests of Baal, whose god is ignoring their supplications: "Cry aloud...; either he is musing, or he has gone aside" (1 Kings 18:27).' So either the neighborhood girls were allowed to come and play with Mary or they were tasked with her toilet training. It's a bit of a difference... :)

The second and third verses of this chapter take place on Mary's first birthday. Joachim throws a huge feast, inviting all the priests, scribes, elders and people of Israel. Surely not *all* the people. Probably just a large number of people that he knew. The priests and the people all bless little Mary and then Anna takes her back to her sanctuary-bedroom. So in that respect it's just like every other first birthday party. The kid's too little to really care and gets tired and goes down for a nap while the adults have fun. Nice to know nothing has really changed.

One last thing, while Anna is breast feeding Mary, putting her down for the night, she sings a song to God: 'I will sing a hymn unto the Lord my God, for he has looked upon me and taken away from me the reproach of my enemies. He has given me the fruit of his righteousness, unique and yet abundant. Who will announce to the children of Reuben that Anna is nursing a baby? Hear, hear, you twelve tribes of Israel: Anna is nursing a baby!'

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Book: Dead Until Dark & Thoughts On Books In General

Ooohh...I've just started rewatching the series Rome. This was such a wonderfully done show. HBO needs to do more things! *slides a stack of The Dresden Files books in their direction* I think they might be able to do it justice...

Right then. Books. I'm still in the H's, and just finished the first book in Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire series, Dead Until Dark. The series is a fantasy mystery series set in a slightly alternate world. Same basic history, but fairly recently the vampires of the world came out of the coffin, so to speak. Due to the development, by the Japanese, of a synthetic blood substitute the vampire populace feels that they can now be a part of society without being perceived as a threat. The public story is that they suffer from a virus which makes them seem dead for a few days and then they recover, but are left altered - unable to go out in sunlight and dependent on blood for their sustenance.

Our point of view character, the main character is Sookie Stackhouse. She's a pretty blonde waitress in Merlotte's Bar in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Sookie has a brother, Jason, who lives in their parents old home and Sookie herself lives with her grandmother, helping to take care of the house, etc. Sookie has a 'disability' - she can read minds.

This tends to make her life difficult since it's not something she can reliably control. It's kept her from getting close to very many people and it's been hell on her dating life. How'd you like to be on a date with someone and hear every thought that shoots through their brain? Know that they're thinking about how big your butt looks or that they're wondering what you look like naked, or that they're thinking about how they need to shampoo the carpet?

Aside from her power, which no one really believes she has anyway - they all think she's nuts - Sookie's life is very normal. Until one day a vampire walks into the bar. The vampire, whose name is Bill, is actually originally from Bon Temps. Of course he was last there during the Civil War, but he is a home grown boy. Sookie is thrilled, a little excitement in her fairly boring life, but then she discovers that she cannot hear Bill's thoughts. It's utterly quiet around him, which draws her too him even more than just the excitement of 'something different.'

There's speculation and talk and small town prejudice, of course, but Bill and Sookie start dating. Two unusual people finding each other.

Seeing as how it's a mystery series it shouldn't surprise anyone that people start getting murdered in Bon Temps. Women who were known to run around with vampires. Suspicion falls on Bill, Jason, Sam (Sookie's boss) and a lot of other people. Because Sookie's been seen with Bill she's also a target and the villain makes several attempts to kill her.

Sookie spends a lot of time and effort trying to find the killer to keep herself safe, of course, but also to keep Bill and Jason out of jail and to stop anyone else from getting killed.

It's a fun, fluffy series all in all. What I think of as beach reading. You're not going to learn any deep meaningful lessons from it, but it's diverting and well written. If you like that sort of thing. :)

Okay then. So, now thoughts on books. I get asked all the time for book recommendations because people see me reading all the time. I generally hesitate to do so because taste's are so varied. Something that I love may not meet the taste's of another. What are they looking for in the book? Does every novel have to have elements of their pet cause? Do they not like sex in their books? Only read westerns? Only read Christian fiction? Are there things that they find offensive? I personally cannot read books where animals die. There's a book getting passed around at work that is apparently fabulous. I think it's called A Dog's Life or something like that. And it's this dog dieing and being reborn - someone told me that the dog isn't abused or anything, these are natural deaths. I still can't read it. Can't do it.

Recommending books is tricky, as I say, because you can never know for sure what people will like. Something that a lot of 'literary' people won't tell you is that even the great writers have people who don't like them. I know people who don't like Shakespeare. Don't like Faulkner (okay, that one's me. My AP English teacher ruined Faulkner for me) or Hemingway or Dostoyevsky. Can't stand Austen or the Bronte sisters. I love Arthur Conan Doyle, but I accept that there are people who don't enjoy his work. I think they're nuts, but I know that my opinion is not the only one. Agatha Christie, who is considered a fabulous mystery writer had two dimensional characters. But her mysteries, the heart of the books were extremely well done.

So I try not to do fiction recommendations unless the person and I share tastes because I hate telling people about good books that they're not going to enjoy just because we don't have the same expectations and desires for the book.

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 5

Chapter 5 picks up the next day when Joachim is making his offerings to God. It's funny (to me), he makes this, almost deal with himself. Like you do sometimes. 'If I see a red flower then I'll finish that big project today.' You know that seeing a red flower has nothing to do with that project at work, but it's something we do. Looking for a sign, sort of. I'm not saying that that was Joachim's intentions, just that that's what it reminded me of.

Joachim says to himself that, "If the Lord God will be gracious to me, he will make the plate on the priest's headpiece shine out clearly to me." The author's note has this to say: "In Exodus 28:36-38, the Lord instructs Moses to make a plate of gold and inscribe upon it 'Holy to the LORD,' and attach it to the priest's headpiece. By this, 'Aaron shall take upon himself any guilt incurred' by those making offerings unworthily." So really Joachim was looking to see if he was making his offerings unworthily - verifying his own righteousness?

When he goes up to offer his gifts he looks closely at the priest's headpiece. He can find no sin reflected there, and so knows "that the Lord God has been gracious to me and forgiven all my sins." And he left the temple rejoicing, having been made righteous by God.

There's a time lapse and the next verse has Anna not only already pregnant but in her ninth month and giving birth.

She asks the midwife what she has borne and is told that she has a daughter. Many people of that time, or even ours would be unhappy that their first born is a daughter. Anna says only that "This day my soul is magnified." The fact that Anna breast feeds is not whitewashed and Anna names her daughter Mary.

I found the notes on Mary's name interesting: "Mary is a common name, but nevertheless difficult to translate; one German scholar identified seventy possible meanings. But when the root is used as a proper noun in the Hebrew Scriptures, it means "bitter." In Ruth 1:20 , after Naomi has lost her husband and her sons, she cries, 'Do not call me Naomi [Pleasant]; call me Mara [Bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me." The same name is heard in an incident during the years the Israelites followed Moses in the wilderness. After three days without water they found some that was too bitter to drink, so they called the place Marah. But God showed Moses a certain tree and told him to throw it in, and after that the water was sweetened and made drinkable (Ex. 15:23-25).

"It's hard to imagine how "Bitter" could become a commonly used name for a child. No doubt many a woman, under pressure to produce sons, found the birth of a girl-child to be a bitter thing. And in the midst of Christ's victory we hear this small note of tragedy, the echo in his mother's name. Mary herself knew sorrow, as the prophet Simeon had told her when she was still a joyous young mother: 'A sword will pierce through your own soul also' (Lk. 2:35).

"The Christian story does not ignore tragedy, but confronts and transforms it. The same God who used a tree to sweeten bitter water would one day choose another tree, the site of his Son's death as well as his glory. By it, all bitterness is turned to joy."

Both the examples used to establish that the root of Mary's name is 'bitter' are incidences where God takes something dark or 'ruined', something painful and turns it into salvation.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Gospel of Mary - Chapter 4

1. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood there, saying, "Anna, Anna, the Lord God has heard your prayer. You will conceive and bear, and your child will be spoken of in all the inhabited world." Then Anna said, "As the Lord my God lives, whether I bear a boy or a girl, I will bring it as an offering to the Lord my God, and it will minister to him all the days of its life."

Even though the angel isn't named, I've heard tradition says that it was the Archangel Gabriel who bore the message to Anna, just as he would later announce Christ's conception to Mary.

There are some really obvious parallels with the conception of Samuel by Hannah in this story. Both Hannah and Anna prayed for children and both swore to dedicate the child to God for its entire life. Though Hannah prayed for a son, Anna just wanted a child - she didn't care whether it was male or female. Oh! Interestingly, Anna is a form of the name Hannah. Random fact of the day. There you go. :)

Two more angels appear to Anna to inform her that Joachim is returning with his flocks. I say 'two more', but maybe it was Gabriel and another angel coming back? Joachim had also been visited by an angel (again, tradition says it was the Archangel Gabriel) who told him: "Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God has heard your prayer. Go down from here; behold, Anna your wife will conceive in her womb."

So Joachim immediately jumped up and came down from his camp. He calls to his shepherds to "bring me twelve pure, spotless lambs for an offering to the Lord my God; and bring twelve pure, spotless calves for the priests and elders; and bring me a hundred goats, which will be for all the people."

Joachim, on the promise of the angel alone has enough faith that God will deliver what He has promised that he's sacrificing and celebrating already.

Joachim and Anna meet at the gate of the city and it's a joyful reunion. I'm telling you, I feel like there's so much genuine love in this couple. I know it's weird to think that from lines written nearly two thousand years ago, but there you have it.

"And Anna ran and threw her arms around his neck, saying, 'Now I know that the Lord God has blessed me exceedingly! For the widow is no longer a widow, and the childless woman conceives in her womb!' And Joachim went into the house and rested that first day."

There are a ton of icons showing this reunion. Some of them are very affectionate - you can see Anna and Joachim kissing. There's even one I've seen with a bed in the background. There's no equivocation, no blushing about what a married couple will do. Perfectly natural and good - the expression of love between a married couple.

The date of Mary's conception is traditionally December 9th, a feast day in the Eastern church since the sixth century. Her birth day is on September 8th.

Egg baby or real pregnancy. I can't decide!

Everything ached.

The haze lifted slowly, sensation returning bit by bit but every sensation that came back was achy and tired. It felt like I'd been running or lifting weights or something. Not painful, but I knew I'd been doing some work. Thinking past that, I realized that I was flat on my back, pinned by something warm and comfortably heavy. I grunted and opened my eyes, blinking to clear them.

Marcone's salt and pepper hair filled half of my vision. His body was the warm thing pinning me down. It took a second for the implications of that to sink through and then I jumped, which didn't get me far since I was still beneath him. He shifted a little at my jerky movement and muttered, sliding his arm up my side and threading his fingers through my hair, holding me still. It was all very gentle and I realized that Marcone was asleep. Holy hell. I wasn't sure what to freak out about first. That Marcone and I were both very very naked or that Marcone was a snuggler. Or maybe I should be freaking out about Gard and Hendricks who had moved from where ever they'd been standing and were now looming over us.

"Uh." Gard's face was impassive, but Hendricks looked pissed. It's hard to tell that from his normal expression, but I was fairly certain he was trying to decide on the quickest way to rip my head off. I could almost see smoke trickling from his ears. Then I blinked and realized that the smoke really was there. "Hey, Cujo, did you know you're on fire?" Thin wisps of smoke were dancing off of his short red hair which did, now that I was paying attention, look a bit singed. There was more smoke coming off of his clothes as well.

"Not any longer. We put him out a few moments ago." Ms. Gard reached out a hand and stopped it over something that I couldn't see until her hand got close. Then it lit up in a faintly reddish dome. The barrier was pretty big. Maybe ten feet high and when I turned my head I could see that there was plenty of room between us and the edge of it where it met the floor. "If you could drop the shield, Mr. Dresden?"

"That's not me."

"I am aware of that. However, you are the only wizard within the circle, so could you kindly attempt to will the circle away? It has withstood our efforts from the outside."

Well, that made a little bit of sense. I took a deep breath and pushed out with my will, trying to turn the circle 'off'. Nothing happened. I waited a second and nothing continued to happen. Crap. I reached up and took hold of the hand Marcone had in my hair. His fingers lost the loose hold they had and I pushed his arm back toward him and rolled until we were both on our sides. Marcone huffed, still asleep, and let me extricate myself. Unfortunately he took hold of my duster which had apparently been spread out on the floor under us and rolled in it like it was a blanket. Which left me bare ass and starting to shiver. Perfect.

I stood and did my best to ignore my little audience. Gard had stepped back and the dome vanished again until I took a few steps. It flared back into being as I got close to where the edge of it had been, only it wasn't red this time but the same faded green that I'd seen right before the lights went out. I felt around with my own power, trying to get a sense of what was powering this thing and what it might do to me. It didn't feel dangerous or malevolent. Just very solid. I knelt and pressed my hand forward, trying to wipe the circle away like I would with one that I'd drawn in chalk. I moved slowly and smashed my fingers into the very real wall of whatever. However it was done it was a hell of a shield. Fuck.

"It's pretty solid from this side. It's not reacting to me at all." I glanced over at Hendricks and then turned to Gard. "What did it do when you guys tried to take it down?"

"Nothing. It rebounds anything solid thrown at it with minimal damage and seems to have simply absorbed the magics I tried."

"That looks like a little more than minimal damage." I pointed at Hendricks' still smoking form. "You said he'd been on fire."

"Yes." Gard's mouth twitched in a small smile. "Mr. Hendricks thought that perhaps the bird had had something to do with this and tried to remove him from the situation. Your bird, unsurprisingly, is not a very cooperative soul." Hah."I got the creature back into its cage and we put Mr. Hendricks out." That little smile again. So glad I wasn't the only one who thought this was funny.

"If Dresden can't drop the shield from in there, what're we gonna do?" Hendricks was, clearly, trying to change the subject. I smiled at him and he turned away from me. "We gotta get the boss out of there."

"I am open to suggestions. Mr. Dresden?"

"I don't know. I have no clue what the hell is going on." I paused as a very unpleasant thought slid through my brain. "You two do know I didn't do this, right? I didn't attack Marcone. We were just standing there and suddenly, boom. Naked cuddling on the floor."

Gard shook her head. "I believe you. We arrived...shortly after the event. You were most definitely not the aggressor." She grinned, a real baring of her teeth in amusement and Hendricks' ears turned cherry red. Damn. I took a second and really catalogued my body. Sore, tired muscles, a slightly sharper pain on one side of my neck, and a fairly heavy throbbing pain in my ass. It wasn't awful but it was new and unpleasant. Now that I'd noticed it it wormed it's way into my consciousness, little claws digging into my lower back. Great. Just - just great. I made the executive decision to not think about it. "Regardless of how it happened, we do need to get you two out of there."

"Oh yeah. I would really, really like to be gone before Marcone wakes up." I hadn't quite closed my mouth and there was a shivering in the air around me. A small 'pop' echoed in my ear, like the air pressure changed and the shield flashed once, briefly and then disappeared. "Really?" I slowly stuck my arm out and through the space where the shield had been before. Nothing. I waved it up and down and side to side. Just air. "Huh. Well, there you go."

"Okay. Here's the plan. I'm going to find my pants." Gard picked them up from a display case to her right and tossed them at me. She had all of our clothes except for my duster it looked like. "Perfect. You two can have sleeping beauty over there. I'll take my coat. We'll all just walk away and never speak of this again. Sound good?" Gard rolled her eyes and moved to start extracting Marcone from my coat. Hendricks just nodded vigorously.
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