Friday, December 26, 2014

Administration: End of 2014

Review of the Analytics shows that the long-standing stats trend held throughout the year. This means that, barring any serious uptick in reader attention or interaction, I will maintain the course into 2015. There will be four serials, one per quarter, and quarterly administration posts; this will continue until readership crashes or reader feedback tells me to go in another direction. You want something different? Speak up, or throw money at me, because I have no reason to change course otherwise.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The New Barbarians-12

A bit of an epilogue, as much as anyone is likely to read this deserves one, is in order.

One of the benefits of a secure location is the luxury of thinking further ahead than the next season, or the next Winter, and instead thinking a generation or two down the road. With more children coming, and still more after that, the care and development of future generations of the clan now needed to be addressed. Literacy, in particular, and the prevention of the degradation of the knowledge we had when Civilization fell is vital to ensuring that this Long Night period is kept to a minimum. Furthermore, finding ways to make the most of what is now possible and using that in conjunction with what we once had is what I discuss often with the men and women in the evenings now. We're making plans on what to do about it, as literacy requires things to read and write- something we don't do much around here.

Living closer to the natural world has also restored a sense of rhythm to our lives that we had, at best, a tenuous tie to previously. Paying attention to the cycles of the world, knowing what to do when and where, demonstrated an inherent order to life that we did not appreciate much in the years before. To be fair, with all of the difficulties ahead of us, I am glad to be here and now and greatly appreciate all of it; leadership has forced me to become far greater than I was before, and though I've hardened considerably, I also know better the nature of strength and how it differs from power. So have all of us, even the children.

Clan Anderson, and Anderson Hold, will not endure forever. No man, and no creation of Man, has such power. However, it can last a long time, long enough to see the turning of ages, when we take the time now to build our foundations properly and ensure that our clan values preservation of lore as a tradition to be followed ferverently. If we are the new barbarians, then let us be as the real barbarians were- and be civilized peoples in our own right.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The New Barbarians-11

With the return of Spring, it became obvious that we of the Anderson Clan had irreversibly transformed ourselves into a form better adapted for this crazy world we're in now. Using our new awareness and abilities, and seeing off Ken and Jack, we set about securing anew our homestead and laying claim--as much as anyone can without using force--to the lands around us. You see, it's been two years since this cataclysm brought the world we knew to an end. If there was a government left, it would have reached us by now and the normalcy we knew restored to some degree. This did not happen; that government--and all of the institutions we knew--is now a ruin, a relic of an age now past, and as such only that which exists in nature will thrive.

Other changes came about as a result of the changed state of ourselves and our world. The women and children stopped gainsaying the men entirely, and the men stopped gainsaying me. In other words, I was now undisputed in my leadership. "Chief" acquired some heft that I, quite frankly, always wanted. That came in good stead when, as I knew was going to happen sooner or later, when the zeds came.

With the full muster of our clan's powers at hand, we met and destroyed that horde many miles away from our homestead. We froze them into place with driving sleet and shattered them with massive hail stones. The honored dead, for reasons I did not know at the time, guided our rifles and blessed our bullets. We would make such a display twice more before the Summer, after which we shifted towards concealment and forewarning. The shelter we made for the cars became part of a well-concealed forward post, with a bit of kit to make communication by someone unable to do so by themselves possible.

This marked our emergence, I guess, as The Anderson Clan. Two years of transformation from a band of survivors into a coherent social unit of our own, where everyone has a place and is at home, seems somehow right to my mind. I have seen strong bands of fellowship form faster than that, and last life-long thereafter, but those are always derived from time fighting a war with one's fellows.

I can only conclude, therefore, that we are now--and shall hereafter, for as long as any can foresee--be living in a state of regular warfare, if not perpetual, as the tribal nations of old did in many places in the world. Civilization is gone. We are the new barbarians.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The New Barbarians-10

I agreed to have Ken and Jack stay on, trading the trading of their skills and knowledge for lodging and protection over the Winter. I have to say that this was quite the experience. All of us, young and old alike, spent time with Jack and Ken. We were now in a state of mind, after all of the weirdness going on, that left us open to the idea of shamanism an answer to the inevitable issue of our technologies becoming unable to use due to power or other expendables running out. What happened, however, was not what I expected.

Sure, the guided shamanic journeys we took to encounter and become familiar with our ancestors took some getting used to. Unlike before, now these spirits could manifest physically so we need not rely on altered states and other methods that left reasonable doubt in place. No, we saw them; all of us, all at once. Look, sound, touch- all very real to us. We learned the truths of our pasts, truths left out of the histories, and we learned of the old gods and the past of contact with North America and all of that. It turned out that my choosing a longhouse design was no accident, but instead inspiration from an ancestor who also did so, and that was just one of the early revelations.

As for Ken, he told us more about the zeds, and of other emerging unnatural threats that he encountered--he dealt with a Japanese snow monster last Winter--and warned us of the common threat these things possessed: the ability to mimic living men and women, play on our natural affinities, and use them as a path to preying upon us. I didn't know at the time (but I should have), but he did carry on affairs with some of the women; his sons, in time, would be born and raised amongst us and in time transform into thing-eaters as he was.

The real breakthrough, however, was that some of our children came to the attention of certain spirits of the wind and water. These acquired some affinity with, and control over, those very natural elements. This was something new, something that neither Ken nor Jack had any experience with, so we had to work with it using what we knew. Because this was a mark of spiritual calling, as it were, we thought of it as a form of shamanism and proceeded accordingly. The secrets of the water spirits included healing and cleansing, something we needed; the secrets of the wind gave us ears we otherwise needed a radio for, and both of them had means of fighting by wielding wind or water as weapons- applied physics would find a new home here.

We didn't have much in the way of names for what we created over that Winter. All that we knew for certain was that we were now possessed with a supernatural connection of our own, and we would need it in the years to come when the fuels ran out, the cells ran dry, the ammunition was gone, and all of the associated technologies became so much useless junk.