Every few hundredturns a group of Casters gather, in a large clearing in the Naughtymancers Section of the Magic Kingdom. They sit on a circle of logs around a Foolamancy bonfire to eat, update the List of Suspected Retcons, and chat like much older friends than the irregular-but-frequent-gaps in their circle would indicate.

Remarkably few of the attendees are Naughtymancers, and, considering that it's the Magic Kingdom, an unusual number are Sided. In fact, for the most part, they don’t appear to have much in common - about a third of them are Thinkamancers or Signamancers, and a few of the casters will have served on the same Side, but that’s about it.

Still, there is laughing, and joking, and swapping stories that couldn’t possibly be true. There is a bit of awkwardness when someone turns to ask a companion's opinion and realizes they're facing an empty seat, but this is usually resolved with another drink.

In the pre-dusk hours while it’s still light out, the northern side of the gathering place is not overshadowed by a large statue of Antagonish Griffin, Master Deletist, and the patch of bare ground where that statue isn’t matches nearly a dozen others which line the sides of the clearing. (Which isn't a courtyard, because there's no castle.)

Any Lookamancer, Signamancer, or Dirtamancer could tell you that there isn’t a statue in that spot, and never has been; it's always been a patch of bare ground. But if they weren't familiar with the place they would look distinctly uncomfortable as they told you this, particularly if you asked whether it had always been a bare patch of ground yesterday.

...

None of the attendees will ever miss one of these gatherings if they can help it. These events are usually the only times they’ll get a good night’s sleep, or feel like their lives make sense.


Well, I wrote this and decided I needed an Erfworld account to share it properly. I've been playing around with the format. Hope you enjoy it!

 

 

(NOTE: User was awarded 10 shmuckers for this post.)

Comments

    • Horatio Von Becker

      Appropriately, I've changed this several times since it got published. I eventually realized that the name (No) Support Group for Victims of Time Travel would work, but I like the current one better.

      EDIT: Ah, and RetCon might also work. That said, the real-world equivalent is a Nordic con for fans of the Transformers franchise, so maybe not.

      • Brony83

        Nice! The "whether it had always been a bare patch of ground yesterday." reminds me of Terry Pratchett, because he sometimes writes something just like that. [object] appeared and from then it had always been there. Can't remember the books though.

        I love stories like yours that mess with people's heads this way. Time travel and retconjuration are the most fearsome weapons in my opinion, because they make you feel so helpless. So it looks like there is at least one retcon-user in this circle and whenever he gets suspected, the suspector gets eradicated from existence with nobody to remember him by.

        • VelinCZ

           It appears in quite a few Terry Pratchet works, but the one I can name from the top of my head is "Soul Music", where Imp Y Celyn and company buys their instruments in such shop.

          • Squall83

            Oh yes, that shop that appeared and then had always been there. :-) Thanks!

            • kaylasdad99

              Mysterious shops that appear and then have always been there is a trope as old as the fantasy adventure genre (and they often appear in science fiction and Lovecraftian-type literature as well). Pratchett's contribution to the just-now-it-was-always-there phenomenon was to give the Auditors the power to make it happen, such as when they pre-paid the Assassin's Guild's fee for the deletion of the Hogfather.

              That said, Cool Storybro! :)

              • robc

                I think this is my favorite one off erfworld story.

                 

                hreat job!

                • Darth Curious

                  nice to think about the way things used to be before they were always like this

                   

                  • Horatio Von Becker

                    Recognition! Woo!

                    @ArtyD: That was terrible, have a schmucker. (This is not to say it's accurate, just amusingly poetic/punny.)

                    @Brony83: Yes, the phrasing was stolen from Pratchett. No, I hadn't intended one of them to be a Retconjurer - the point was that this is the Deletemancers section, and these are all units that have good reason to suspect they knew a Deletemancer before Deletemancy was Retconjured.

                    For example, if I ever rewrite this again, I may add a snippet of conversation between two Casters (one a cross-dicipline Naughtymancer and the other unspecified), about the latter's dreams of a Warlady named Miranda Tenicek. (I would also, if I could find a way to do the artwork, make her look like a dark-skinned Miranda Lawson with very curly hair. Because multireference Signamancy is fun.)

                    @kaylasdad99, @robc, aww, thanks. Praise is so fun to hear.

                    @Darth Curious: Kind of, yeah! A surprising number of my Erfworld ideas have to do with that theme - like, what were the Deletionists like? What insights into the nature of Erf did they have, which may now be forever beyond our reach? We can surmise that Disbanding and perhaps Decay were once Deletionism effects, but we don't know what their usual role was as Casters.

                    (Were they poor? Were they rich? Were they considered to Matter? We can assume that they said Nothing matters, but perhaps their Signamancy tended more toward the Popculture Buddhist than the Armchair Nihilist? In retrospect, it probably didn't - if only for the sake of 'Generation X' symbolism.

                    We can also presume that some of them were called Deletists, which gives us some insight into their culture. It's really interesting how much we can guess with only a name and the established rules of Signamancy. Also really poetic in context.)


                    Incidentally, in case anyone else is interested (or wants to use him): In my headcanon, Antagonish Griffin's Masterwork was permanently deleting his body's visual aspect, giving himself something akin to a permanent Foolamancy veil so long as he had nothing equipped.

                    He generally kept this somewhat secret, due to one of the core principles of Shockmancy: things have more energy the more sharply they contrast with their context, including how fast they're introduced. To facilitate this, he usually wore gloves, headwraps, a red trenchcoat, and a red fedora. I don't think he was more than a novice shockmancer, though.


                    Should I make a forum thread so it's marginally easier to reply to this? This comment has (EDIT: had) most of my thoughts on Naughtymancy, but I've got a lot of other thoughts on magic, and I'll probably get around to it sooner if I know there's interest...