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Author Topic: Pseudopod 323: The Trinket  (Read 4403 times)

Bdoomed

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on: March 01, 2013, 06:48:19 AM
Pseudopod 323: The Trinket

By P.G. Bell .

The Trinket” was first published by Morrigan Books in the anthology THE PHANTOM QUEEN AWAKES in 2010


P.G. BELL was born and raised less than a mile from the old Roman fortress of Caerleon in south Wales, a site that served as inspiration for much of this story. He now lives in Cardiff with his wife Anna and son Aurelien, where he is currently putting the finishing touches to his first novel. He’s an editor at Impossible Podcasts, where he’s in charge of the ‘Stories in Print’ thread, exploring all manner of sci-fi, fantasy and horror literature.


John Trevillian - is your reader this week. John is an award-winning British author of the dystopian A-Men trilogy - The A-Men, The A-Men Return and Forever A-Men start with a classic mix of Mad Max and The Matrix – and this is a future with it’s fair share of urban undead and nightmarish storylines. It also contains a pitch for a movie called Nighties of the Living Dead… so there’s much here for the modern horror reader! Available in print, audiobook and ebook formats, the first novel is also downloadable as a free dramatized podcast (the link seems to be down at the moment but we’ll provide it anyway). Trevillian’s work is informed as much by the roles of magazine editor, technology writer and IT journalist as his training in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and Native American shamanism. Check out his blog.

He’s also founder of the Talliston House & Gardens project – basically the transformation of an ordinary house into thirteen unique rooms from different times and places in history. Medieval Watchtower living room? Check. Cambodia bamboo treehouse attic? Check. Art Nouveau Scottish haunted bedroom? Check! Take a look for yourself at Talliston House & Gardens.


“They burned Gederus in the yard outside the barracks. Dawn had brought the first break in rain for ten days and the men, still cold and filthy from the construction work, cast anxious glances at the black weight of cloud that threatened to stamp out and drown the struggling flames. Those closest to the pyre stole a guilty pleasure from its warmth.

All except Rufinius, who stood to attention at the head of the bonfire, his nostrils thick with the smell of pitch and roasting meat.

“This man was the best of us!” His voice cracked open the still air. “A leader of men and a soldier of Rome! Today, we honor him.”

He nodded to the priests, who stepped forward and began reciting the prayers for the dead. Rufinius did not listen. Instead, he narrowed his eyes against the smoke and surveyed the army standing ready around him. A full century of men, their plate armor dull and glassy in the pale sunlight, the auxiliary soldiers and craftsmen standing in a looser huddle farther out. Surrounding them all, the fledgling stronghold of Glevum rose black and skeletal from the churned clay of the earth.”



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Francejackal

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Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 05:37:04 AM
 I did enjoy this this story, it's conception of the Morrigan was unusual and superbly intriguing. I would limit my criticisms to a dislike for the protagonist (finding him a rather petty and cowardly fellow), though I feel his character was very consistent; and the portrayal of the Celts. They are continually trodden upon as the mindless, de facto enemy of Rome and it's people despite the fact that they are merely repelling an invasion. The device works but the subject is a bit tired.



Hungrysparrow

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Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 01:34:08 AM
I enjoyed the story with it's well paced action and rich descriptions. There are two areas that seemed to bug me though. First being Morrigans motivation. Having listened to the story twice I don't understand why she would favor the rather cowardly Rufinius over Gederus. Initially I believed she was using Rufinius to return the trinket so that she could give it to a Celtic warrior - she mentions not favouring cowards and Gederus mentions how the Celts see the Romans as cowardly because they wear armour. But then at the end Rufinius merely takes Gederus place as the number one unstoppable (for now) Roman warrior and holder of the trinket. When Gederus asks Rufinius 'What did she promise you?' he reveals that the Morrigun had a similar interaction with Gederus once upon a time, leading us to wonder why she no-longer wanted him to have the trinket? What had Gederus done to displease her?
The second minor gripe would be how Rufinius defeats Gederus. It just seemed too easy, suggesting that Morrigan played a hand in the defeat? It might have been more interesting if the trinket had been taken by guile and cunning rather than a lucky sword thrust.
Top notch narration.



Scattercat

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Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 01:52:18 AM
To quote Wikipedia:

"The Morrígan is a goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignty."

I suspect Morrigan just wants the killing to continue, and to that end has given the amulet to the Romans to ensure they keep looking for fights.

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Scumpup

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Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 01:01:19 PM
Very entertaining.  The reader was particularly good.  More of a sword n' sandal story than a horror story, IMO, but one that I enjoyed very much.



Sgarre1

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Reply #5 on: March 05, 2013, 01:09:52 PM
Us playing our "dark fantasy" card - the pack we share with Podcastle.  Next week the same (deal 'em out).



Hungrysparrow

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Reply #6 on: March 05, 2013, 04:15:30 PM
To quote Wikipedia:

"The Morrígan is a goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignty."

I suspect Morrigan just wants the killing to continue, and to that end has given the amulet to the Romans to ensure they keep looking for fights.

Yes but why have Gederus killed then? He was doing a pretty good job at battling and killing.



lisavilisa

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Reply #7 on: March 07, 2013, 06:48:53 AM
To quote Wikipedia:

"The Morrígan is a goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignty."

I suspect Morrigan just wants the killing to continue, and to that end has given the amulet to the Romans to ensure they keep looking for fights.

Yes but why have Gederus killed then? He was doing a pretty good job at battling and killing.


Two best friends fighting each other while on enemy territory and they both could be ambushed sounds like a lot of strife to me.



Scattercat

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Reply #8 on: March 07, 2013, 02:29:46 PM
Also, if one dude wins TOO often, well, then the fights stop because why bother with the foregone conclusion?  You gotta shake these things up, keep your worshipers guessing about which of their enemies will end up being The Greatest Fighter in the World.  We are talking about a goddess who demands her people fight without armor because not getting stabbed is for wusses.

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zoanon

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Reply #9 on: March 24, 2013, 11:21:05 PM

Yes but why have Gederus killed then? He was doing a pretty good job at battling and killing.

he was going to die anyway when the celt hit him with the rock. Morrígan could delay his death long enough to pass the trinket along (?)



Fenrix

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Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 07:36:47 PM
The device works but the subject is a bit tired.

Maybe this is a selection bias. As an American, since it's been almost 20 years since Braveheart, the Roman-Celtic struggle is much lower profile over here than Lannister-Stark. And the Morrigan is even less common.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Unblinking

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Reply #11 on: April 25, 2013, 01:57:42 PM
I enjoyed this story well enough.  I wouldn't say that I really got very emotionally connected to it, but I was always interested to see how it would end up, and wasn't disappointed by the ending.  An enjoyable fantasy kind of story.

Also, if one dude wins TOO often, well, then the fights stop because why bother with the foregone conclusion?  You gotta shake these things up, keep your worshipers guessing about which of their enemies will end up being The Greatest Fighter in the World.

This.  It's a sound strategy to promote chaos.

not getting stabbed is for wusses.

They should stamp that battle cry into their armor!  Tattoos would work too.



Marlboro

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Reply #12 on: December 22, 2019, 03:26:32 PM
I enjoyed the story with it's well paced action and rich descriptions. There are two areas that seemed to bug me though. First being Morrigans motivation. Having listened to the story twice I don't understand why she would favor the rather cowardly Rufinius over Gederus. Initially I believed she was using Rufinius to return the trinket so that she could give it to a Celtic warrior - she mentions not favouring cowards and Gederus mentions how the Celts see the Romans as cowardly because they wear armour. But then at the end Rufinius merely takes Gederus place as the number one unstoppable (for now) Roman warrior and holder of the trinket. When Gederus asks Rufinius 'What did she promise you?' he reveals that the Morrigun had a similar interaction with Gederus once upon a time, leading us to wonder why she no-longer wanted him to have the trinket? What had Gederus done to displease her?
The second minor gripe would be how Rufinius defeats Gederus. It just seemed too easy, suggesting that Morrigan played a hand in the defeat? It might have been more interesting if the trinket had been taken by guile and cunning rather than a lucky sword thrust.
Top notch narration.



My interpretation of the story: the pendant has no magical power whatsoever. Morrigan uses the useless bauble to trick men into believing that they are invicible, which turns them into bold, fearless killing machines. Of the three men who carry the pendant in the story, we know that two of them are killed in battle, so clearly the charm isn't doing them much good.

As for why Morrigan "betrays" the men who win the pendant?  She obviously has precognitive abilities as evidenced by the wrestling scene. And she obviously feeds on war and death as evidenced by her rejuvenation at the story's end. She can both see men's destinies and be the cause of them at the same time which allows her to instigate the strife and bloodshed that she desires. She wants the pendant to pass from hand to hand, but always into the hand of a man who she knows will buy her spiel and is capable of continuing the carnage. Achilles has to meet his fate sometime, right?

 Who's to say that Morrigan doesn't have an entire jewelry box full of similarly useless "trinkets" and that there aren't multiple wannabe Achilles out there slaughtering one another for them?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 04:52:47 PM by Marlboro »



Marlboro

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Reply #13 on: December 28, 2019, 08:42:11 PM
On a second listening I realize that I'm not so sure about my interpretation. Rufinius never seemed to believe that the pendant was a source of power as I originally believed, which brings me to Hungrysparrow's pov about there being some issues with the story.



I'm just missing something here. Unfortunate, because t his is an otherwise enjoyable story.