The Mother of Badgers

Original concept by Sable Aradia, Lord Galakrond, Darth Nikolas, Realm of Music, and Erin Righ. Written by Sable Aradia, with contributions by Lord Galakrond. IRL, Sable is found family who is happy and proud to call Gala her son. They stream at twitch.tv/sablearadia and twitch.tv/theclosetforge respectively.
You probably have a lot of questions - I've got a lot too - and, you know, that's okay, ask them, we've got time...
— Sable Aradia
 
Okay... Why?
— Lord Galakrond
 
[long pause] Because your dads are my friends.
— Sable Aradia
  In the backs of their minds, many in the Realm have probably wondered, at least idly, about where all the Forgelings of House Meles came from, since they have two fathers and there is no mother to be seen -- nor has there ever been. Some may also have wondered vaguely why -- or how -- a House full of Werebadgers managed to produce not one, but two Wererabbits. It's known that the relationship between the Houses and the animals that represent them is more totemic than genetic, but clearly, the Rabbit seemed to be favouring Meles with unusual generosity.   In the wake of the Second Word War, many among the leaders of the Realm now know their secret. The Mother of Bunnies is also the Mother of Badgers.

Themes

Bunnies, Badgers

Structure

Exposition

While Darth Nikolas did not allow the homophobia of his father to dissuade him from wedding his true love, Realm of Music, one element of the elder King Badger's criticisms did stick in the younger Badger's mind. How would he pass on the legacy of their ancient and proud, if small and destitute, House?   The question also bothered Realm (a.k.a. the Bardger) because he cared about the things that mattered to his husband, but also, because he wanted, more than anything else in the world, to be a father.   They prayed and prayed to the Old Gods and the New, and then the solution came to them. They went to Realm's brother, Erin Righ, and to Erin's wife, the Chief Rabbit, Sable Aradia.   Sable, being a rabbit, brought children forth in litters, and she had so many... it seemed to her a cosmic injustice that these lovely Badger lords who were her friends and family had none. She agreed to help them.   It's unclear as to which one of the Badger Kings is the biological father of Lord Galakrond and the Forgelings -- and to date, no one has been so rude as to ask. But by whatever means, Sable produced seven children for the Wordlords of Meles. On their request, Sable swore to them that she would never speak to anyone about it.

Conflict

Until recently, the identity of the Meles' children's mother was a deeply-held secret. By mutual agreement, the children themselves were not even told, until they reached their 16th birthday. It was important to everyone involved that the Meles children look to the Badger Kings as their parents, since Sable was only peripherally involved in their lives.   But more importantly, this was agreed upon in order to protect the succession of both Houses. Since Sable's eldest two children were not literomancers, and her third eldest, Prince Jean , was adopted, there were concerns that objections might be raised by both Meles and Lapin loyalists -- especially since Sable's husband was already directly related to the Meles royal family. Would Lapin loyalists insist the Carrot Throne pass to Sable's genetic children, instead of her adopted son? Would Meles loyalists question the legitimacy of the Meles heirs -- or insist that the throne only pass to those who were provably Darth Nikolas' natural children? Would supporters of either side question their loyalties -- or would the other Houses object to the potential threat of such a strong Meles-Lapin alliance?

Rising Action

Over the years, Sable and Erin tried to assist with financial support of the family as best they could -- which, at first, was little, since Erin was a soldier for the Canadian military and Sable was trying to make her way as a young journalist. When Sable landed the job as an investigative reporter for ASC, however, things improved. She hoped she would be able to make anchor within a few years, and then the money would be significantly better for both families, especially after Erin's car accident.   On Lord Galakrond's 16th birthday, as agreed, the Badger Kings told him about his heritage. Also as agreed, they explained that the Mother of Bunnies had invited him to reach out if he wanted to. After much soul-searching, he decided to do so.  
Relevant segment begins 10:55
  Sable invited Gala to come and study magic with her at The Warren, and he took her up on the invitation. Initially, however, he was waylaid by an enemy of both House Meles and House Lapin (see the Patient Zero plotline).  
See above video -- relevant segment begins 00:00
  Eventually he did make it to The Warren, however, and the two quickly developed a close relationship, bonding over their mutual interests, especially magic, writing, and role-playing games.   When the First Word War broke out during the annual Game of Tomes, a Literomancy competition still maintained by the literomantic Houses, Lord Galakrond returned to Windy Willows with the rest of his family, and Sable Aradia returned to the Warren to gather House Lapin's resources and muster their defenses, as duty demanded.   So Sable was not there to protect Gala when House Meles fell. With the King Badger now among the Undead, and the Bardger MIA, the Meles family fled first to House Chiroptera and then to House Mollusca.  
Relevant segment begins 00:56
  Why didn't Lord Galakrond flee to the Warren?
"Galakrond, why aren't you going to the Warren? You know your mother would surely have taken you in and protected you," the demonic raven companion Lord Galakrond had summoned to keep him company nagged.   "I don't wanna talk about it," Galakrond replied.   "Come on," the raven squawked. "You gotta let me know why you're not going to the Warren. Why're you heading to the Cavern? This all isn't adding up, man." The bird-creature gave him a piercing look with a faintly luminous yellow eye. "You must tell me. You know I can't tell anybody else. I provide a way for you to communicate and you're able to keep me in the Realm, that's what we agreed to. If you won't tell your mom about it, then you must tell me."   "No."   "Yes. Tell me or I void the contract." The raven avoided eye contact with its Conjurer.   "You're willing to stop being able to live in this Realm, just to be able to hear my reasoning on why I'm not heading to the Warren? Wow, that's some serious dedication." Galakrond rolled his eyes at the demon and sighed. "Fine. I'll tell you."   "Oh goodie!" The raven perched on Lord Galakrond's shoulder so it could somewhat listen as they passed over the Warren.   "I don't want to go to the Warren because I don't want to see another one of my family members turned into a zombie. It's bad enough that my father, the King, turned into a Lich. I just don't wanna see what my mother would become. I don't want to watch my uncle Erin slaughter his wife and raise her as a 'thing,' like my father." A tear dripped off Galakrond's face, down to the carrot garden he flew miles above. He wiped at it impatiently. "I can't live if that happens."   "Woah. That's some heavy stuff. I'm sorry I pushed." the raven cawed.   "You tell anyone and our contract is broken. You even whisper this to a single soul, you're gone! Understand me?"   "I do," the demon said as they landed in the Cavern, where several bats hanging from the ceiling fluttered their wings at the unexpected arrival.
  When House Lapin fell, Sable also fled to House Mollusca, where Sable was reunited with Lord Galakrond and the Forgelings.  
Relevant segment begins 00:00
  Sable Aradia and Lord Galakrond at the Battle of Zafforza Trench
"But you need everyone!" Galakrond protested. "Everyone who can fight, everyone who can write!"   "Someone has to protect your siblings," Sable said, with that voice of inexorable logic that made Galakrond cringe every time it was used against him. "And if you don't, I must. But I have to command the remnants of the Lapin forces. They won't follow you." She smiled, but it was a smile that was too tight at the edges. "At least, not yet."   It made sense, but... "I have to fight. I'm staying, Mom," he insisted.   "Am I your mother or not?"   "Of course you are." His tone was sour, resigned.   "Then do as I say." She rested a hand along the side of his face, and this smile was genuine. "Gala, you have nothing to prove. You saved the lives of your siblings. You've been very brave. I'm so proud of you!"   She meant it. He could tell. Her spine stiffened; her cheeks glowed, and it wasn't just the sharp wind of the sea. "I'm not telling you not to write. Keep writing, yes, but where you can keep an eye on your siblings. Let me handle the combat literomancy for now. Okay?" She hesitated, then added, "And if you want to summon your creatures to aid us, I won't say no. Not with so much at stake." Her eyes bore into him now, and Gala wondered how a wererabbit could be so intimidating to a werebadger. "Promise me, Gala."   He opened his mouth to protest again; but then he realized he would be facing his uncle in battle. And his father. And he understood, with a cold, hard pit of ice in his belly, that what he had tried with all his power to avoid might happen. She might die here. She might die and become one of them. "Okay, Mom, I promise," he found himself saying, though it felt as though his voice were coming from somewhere far away.   Her smile softened. "Thank you. Thank you, Gala." She threw her arms around him and squeezed, surprisingly strong for such a small woman. "I love you, now and forever. Now go."   When he was gone, Sable wiped away the tears that stung her eyes. At least some of her children would be out of harm's way. "Now, Frith grant me the strength to save your father. And your brother." She hefted her mace and laptop and prepared to join the fray. It seemed so wrong that her breaking heart was completely silent.
  There, the literomancers of the family, including some of their youngest members, made a final stand against the Undead Horde -- and won. The Iron Tome was claimed for House Mollusca, and the dead were restored to life, including Darth Nikolas, Prince Jean , and Erin Righ.   Realm of Music turned up after the events of the war, alive and well; he'd just been trapped and couldn't make it to The Zafforza Trench.

Climax

The Second Word War began when House Lapin took exception with House Chiroptera over a bat-shaped Zombie Summoning Totem found near the traditional Lapin seat of power. House Meles decided to stay out of it. But the Undead Horde had no such plans, and almost as soon as the Tome Knights realized the Horde was once again a threat, House Meles had fallen.   Lord Galakrond was taken by the Undead Horde. Darth Nikolas and Realm of Music fled with the surviving Forgelings to House Mollusca.   In the meantime, the Mother of Bunnies was at the Great Library negotiating with Siobhan the Writer of House Chiroptera to end their conflict (see the Bunny vs Bat plotline.) She was not informed of what had happened until she heard about it on a GOT News Network broadcast. She called the Badger Kings to take exception to this, and convinced them to come and join her at the Warren, so that they could work together to save Gala.  
Look -- I want you to come to the Warren. Never mind House politics right now! We have more important concerns, and we should be dealing with them together.
— The Mother of Bunnies to the Badger Kings
 
Relevant segment begins 02:11
  The apparent defection of House Meles greatly angered Coffee Quills. They were also invited to join Sable at the Warren, but refused the invitation, convinced that the Mother of Bunnies was making a bid for power against them. Unable to tell Coffee the truth of what was going on due to her oath, Sable had no way to break the deadlock.  
See above video -- relevant segment begins 15:19
  House Mollusca was forced to flee to the Warren anyway, when the Undead Horde came for their House instead of the Grand Alliance, but kept to themself and only got involved in war councils.

Falling Action

Realm of Music took it upon himself to explain the situation to the Cosmic Kraken. This softened the Kraken's stance, and brought all of the surviving Houses of the Realm together to fight in the last stand against the Undead Horde, the Battle of the Warren .  
Relevant segment begins 03:56
  In the battle, Galakrond, now calling himself Lord GalaWight, made a concerted effort to murder his mother through the use of his conjuration magic. While he struck her a significant blow, she was able to recover, and ultimately, the Grand Alliance was victorious.  
I'm going to eat your brains, Bucktooth!
— Lord GalaWight
Just because I taught you everything you know, doesn't mean I taught you everything I know.
— Sable's response

Resolution

In the aftermath of the Battle of the Warren, things remain tense. It remains to be seen how Erin Righ and Lord Galakrond will react to their role in the Undead Horde; or how their family will react to them.   To make matters more complicated, the truth of the origins of House Meles' young scions has just been publicly revealed on an episode of the popular GOT Network talk show Let's Talk!, when they aired illegally acquired recordings of some very personal conservations from a celebratory banquet at The Warren. This juicy piece of gossip is currently going viral, along with the news of the Queen of Bats' and Prince Jean 's upcoming nuptials.

Components

Goals

House Meles and House Lapin intended to protect the legacies of their Houses by preventing questions about lineage and succession.

Stakes

When the initial situation began, the consequences of revealing this secret were relatively minor by comparison; instability in the family and social consequences among the literomantic houses being the most prevalent; although, of course, some questions of inheritance and the literomantic legacies of both houses would have been threatened.   After the collapse of society following the First Word War, the stakes could not be higher. With the world divided between the rulership of only a handful of literomantic houses, questions of succession could lead to civil war -- and that civil war might have global consequences.

Moral Quandaries

  • The ethics of maintaining peace vs. the ethics of lying by omission.
  • The needs of the greater whole vs. the needs of individuals.
  • Maintaining an oath vs. bringing people together
  • Backdrops

    Threats

  • The Company
  • The Undead Horde
  • A family of two men and four children, the men wearing robes and one in a paper crown, two of the children in bunny ears

    House Meles by Darth Nikolas

    House Meles by Dani Adventures

    House Lapin by Dani Adventures

    A woman in bunny ears speaking to a young man with long hair on a Discord call

    Lord Galakrond calls his mother for the first time by Sable Aradia

    A young man summoning magical power from an open book

    Lord Galakrond the Conjurer by Missi & Sable Aradia

    Two men in robes and crowns with the ocean in the background, speaking on a Discord call with a woman in bunny ears

    The Mother of Bunnies asks the Badger Kings to come to the Warren by Sable Aradia

    A sharply-dressed man with long hair talking to an octopus

    Realm of Music speaks to Coffee Quills about the reason Meles went to the Warren by Sable Aradia

    A young man with a mad grin throwing magical energy at the camera

    Lord GalaWight facing off against the Mother of Bunnies at the Battle of the Warren by Missi & Sable Aradia

    A young man with a bloody wound on his chest and an evil expression throwing void magic at the camera

    Lord GalaWight facing off against the Mother of Bunnies at the Battle of the Warren by Missi & Sable Aradia

    A young man with an angry expression throwing a magical blast at the camera

    Lord GalaWight facing off against the Mother of Bunnies at the Battle of the Warren by Missi & Sable Aradia

    A prone woman in bunny ears, fallen sword and laptop at her side, rallies her strength and releases a blast of magic

    Sable Aradia rallies the power of her love at the Battle of the Warren by Siobhan the Writer & Sable Aradia

     

    Relevant Filks

    Mother of Bunnies

    Badger Tales

    Lord of Windy Willow

    The Horde

    In Words We Trust

    The Infamous
    Let's Talk! Episode


    Winner: Plot Special Category - World Ember 2021



    Cover image: Iron Tome by Misades

    Comments

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    23 Dec, 2021 11:38

    I really like how much thought you put into the Lore of Game of Tomes. It really has become a living and breathing world. You did a great job with all of that!

    Feel free to check out my worlds, characters and original music here: SatriumHub
    12 Jan, 2022 18:48

    <3 ... haaaa, this is well done. :D