watcher_diaries: (we need to discuss matters)
There are, in fact, guidelines in place for Watchers faced with this situation. These can be summarised as, “Avoid this situation at almost all costs but, if unable to take avoiding action, do not wish for any form of vengeance, do not wish for the return of anyone known or suspected to be deceased, and do not assume that the demon, genii or other supernatural being who is making the offer is less intelligent than you are yourself.

The creature may well have thousands, or at least hundreds of years of experience in being a wishing-demon. It is unlikely that the invoker will be able to circumnavigate that.”

From my own experience and observations I would add, “Do not summon a terpsichorean demon on the promise of a happy ending (unless you are prepared to take part in an on-going and potentially embarrassing musical extravaganza.) Do not wish that you could contact someone who is using modern methods to deal with the supernatural unless you are prepared for the side effects. (These may include one’s Slayer effectively joining the army at the behest of a most unpleasant psychology lecturer - or having to tell Harkness that one really does not swing that way rather too often in the course of a mission.)

While it may be true that there are winning strategies in the three wishes scenario it may also be best to add that, if one wishes to take legal advice before entering into the contract, one should take care in selecting the lawyers to be consulted. One should also try to ensure that the genii, demon or other wish-offering entity is not represented by Wolfram & Hart.

Muse; Rupert Giles
Fandom; BTVS
Words; 280
watcher_diaries: (teatime - percythejock)
I don’t think that I had a safe place as a child; not in the sense that the questioner may mean. Perhaps I rarely felt threatened. Certainly I had my own room from a very young age. Nobody interfered there – at least, that was how I perceived it. My books were undisturbed and it was some years before I realised that dust very rarely removes itself daily and carpet does not repel small items by some form of magic. Certainly I knew that someone else sometimes entered. Grubby clothes discarded into the laundry basket would later appear in my wardrobe, washed and ironed.

Possibly I do myself an injustice. I have difficulty in remembering my very earliest years. Later, of course, there was the loft. I had forgotten that. A fairly near neighbour had a true cottage garden, a riot of giant fuchsias and roses that probably rambled to a far greater extent than a purist would have tolerated. It was unusual after the years of wartime austerity; the “Dig for Victory” campaign had left the average garden almost ready for the plough. The neighbour had turned almost an acre of front garden into a shared vegetable patch, but had kept the tiny back garden as a kind of hidden jewel.

It is my recollection that I found it accidentally. I had read about scrumping for apples and it seemed the kind of thing that I really ought to try. It also seemed a point of pride to eat my loot, but fortunately the neighbour intervened before I could give myself crab apple colic. It seems odd that I let myself be caught and I have only just remembered the reason.

I was astride the main branch of a sturdy old russet when I saw the movement beneath me. I assume that it was a dog-fox. It was far larger than I would have expected and it was moving toward the waste-bins with confidence; then it seemed to perceive something unusual. It did not look up. I could see its head turn and its ears move as it tried to pin-point the source of … when the woman spoke I was so surprised that I almost fell out of the tree! The fox was gone as I started to slide and I expected to be quite literally collared, but instead she said,

“You really should beware of the ants.” I can think of few better deterrents for a young boy in short trousers. I was out of that tree in seconds. I had done a certain amount of damage when scrambling down and we somehow came to an arrangement that I should pick some apples for her(using a ladder. It was cumbersome, but I felt rather pleased to be treated like an adult. I was also quite proud when I learned the techniques for picking apples without bruising the fruit.)

I went on to store them in the loft for her. She showed me how to place and space the fruit – stored apples should never touch or any areas of rot will spread. It is quite true that one rotten apple will spoil a barrel-full.

After that I often took myself off to the loft when the world became a little too much for me. It had a distinctive smell of clean wood, fruit and something indefinable that always made me think of sunshine…

I heard that the whole place was pulled down when they built the motorway and bypass, but I have not been back to see.

Muse; Rupert Giles.
Fandom, BTVS
Words, 585
watcher_diaries: (we need to discuss matters)
Churchill had an enviable gift for summarising motivating speeches into a few words. My father remarked on it many times, and I sometimes think that I can remember the speeches themselves from my childhood. That is not really very likely, of course; the man was at his best during the Second World War.

When I first looked at the quote given I thought it would be easy to write a short piece. It seems to summarise an essential attitude for someone engaged in training Watchers. Then I started to give the wording a little more thought. It actually feels wrong to put my conclusions into words, there are those whom one is reared to consider an inarguable authority – however, with the greatest respect to the memory of Sir Winston, I think I disagree on principle. Churchill’s own great enemies, the Nazis, did what they believed was required of them by the rules of their society. Whether they did their best or not, many of them went to their deaths still claiming that “they were only obeying orders”.

I should not have selected this prompt. Oddly enough, it is not an area in which I am really an expert. I failed to do what was required of me during the Cruciamentum, according the Watchers’ Council of the time. However, I did my best and think I can safely say that all ended well.

More recently, I suppose that activating all the potential Slayers in the attempt to defeat the First Evil seemed to be what was required, at the time. The ending of that is still in considerable doubt.

I look at the quote and all I can think of is, “Required by whom?” Even following our own consciences does not guarantee a good result, but what other guide have we?

Muse, Rupert Giles
Fandom, BTVS
Words, 300
watcher_diaries: (laughing-Jess)
What a fascinating question! I wonder what it would have been like to have been reared in a family, and to come from a background, in which that question could be asked in all seriousness?

I suppose this is why it is traditional to recruit Watchers from families who have made this avocation part of their personal traditions. In the old days Watchers came from families who had always been willing to give a child into the battle against evil, just as other families traditionally gave their third or fourth sons to the Church.

My own family was steeped in Watcher tradition and my father explained to me that I was the child of my generation who had been selected to fill that role when I was barely eight years old. The supernatural was simply a part of life, taken for granted, like the hedgerows or the furniture.

One does not ask oneself if one believes in the kitchen table. It is simply there, the place to make and drink one’s tea. One does not ask oneself whether one believes in mice - simply set and empty the traps, or get a good cat. A pentagram is simply a rat-trap with rather differing rules of operation. (Although admittedly one can lose rather more than a finger-nail if it is set up wrongly.)

Possibly this does lead to an on-going communications failure in today’s society, when there are a multiplicity of Slayers from various backgrounds and therefore a pressing need to recruit Watchers by non-conventional means.

Possibly one of the younger Watchers, who was recruited by one of the new initiatives, might answer differently, but to ask me this question is very like asking a child of today’s generation, “Do you believe in computers, in Microsoft, Apple or the internet? Why/Why not?”

(In point of fact, the internet is an inherently unlikely dimension, although I do find that I can suspend my disbelief sufficiently to take part in it, at least to an extent.)

Muse, Rupert Giles,
Fandom, BTVS
Words, 330.
watcher_diaries: (Default)
Unfortunately, it is not unusual to lose a Slayer. It is always regrettable, but not unusual. Nobody expects a Slayer to die of natural causes but I think the younger Watchers tend to assume that the accounts of their lives always end with the announcement that they have been killed by vampires or, more rarely, demons. Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing;161 words )

005; what makes you angry? 422 words. )

Muse, Rupert Giles.
Fandom BTVS
Words; 595
watcher_diaries: (teatime - percythejock)
What is my comfort food?

What a ridiculous question. I’m not a teenage girl to try to drown a broken heart in thirty flavours of ice-cream and chocolates – and then to fret about fat hips and ... and acne. I am male and I am British and we simply do not indulge ourselves in that way.

I do enjoy Jaffa cakes, of course, but they simply go well with a cup of Earl Grey tea to round off the evening. I wouldn’t dream of taking them with tea at breakfast, even if I had spent a really bad night. Of course, they wouldn’t go well with morning tea – not with breakfast tea. That tends to be what my family called “kitchen tea”, a good strong brew with fresh milk and two sugars.

When it comes to morning tea, I might have kitchen tea again, or have Earl Grey, it really depends on what the day is like. Oddly enough, I might be less likely to have Jaffa cakes on a stressful day. I hadn’t realised that before. I wonder why?

Anyway, they certainly aren’t a comfort food.

Muse; Rupert Giles.
Fandom; BTVS
Words, 180.

CM - 005

Feb. 2nd, 2007 10:14 pm
watcher_diaries: (teatime - percythejock)
It happened quite recently. I was undertaking some research in the Alternative British Library. (Nothing really esoteric. It was a matter of the reproductive techniques of Drayfang demons - not, I hasten to add, for any prurient reason but because there is evidence that they, like several other “traditional demons”, are dangerously allergic to chlorine and fluoride in combination.

That is, although most of them might withstand being dowsed with a bucket of tap-water they cannot drink it. Almost every demon in category S is either being edged toward urban extinction by this sensitivity or is finding another source of fluids. This is a serious matter, of course. Humanity can undoubtedly survive without the Sylvan demons, it is the loss of their trees to climate change that is likely to endanger us. However, the mutation of the gentle, water-loving Drayfang into blood-suckers is not a benign manifestation of the problem.

We had thought it was a matter of the organism changing its habits under pressure and finding a new source of food - or drink, in this case, although they are filter-feeders. In fact, mutation appears to be the proper word for what is happening. A large percentage of urban Dryfang are now forced to spawn in water which is, from their viewpoint, contaminated by chlorine and fluoride. At present, that eliminates almost all the eggs. Two or three fry sometimes survive. Those mature into the bloodsuckers. They are, quite possibly, a new species.

The real danger comes from the fact that they are voracious at the planktonic stage. With these creatures in the water supply we ….)

But I digress. I had taken out a copy of “*60 Chromosomes, The Water-Dwellers”. Someone has used a picture of a sweet, the kind London schoolchildren call “love hearts”, as a place-marker. It
is hardly something that I would have expected a serious researcher into demonic activities to use – and who else would research the genetics of water-dwelling mini-demons? On turning the card over I found a number with the name, “Harkness, Torchwood.” Odd. I have been tempted to telephone simply from curiosity.
watcher_diaries: (Default)
"Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well. Samuel Butler" Discuss.

When I was a student I used to know a man who, when asked what he did for a living, said he was in the business of redistributing scarce resources. He was a burglar, of course – and he was telling the truth, although with a certain … slant. I was still young and I found it amusing, at the time. I suppose one might say that it was truth-telling with style.

I did not quite realise the corruptive nature of that form of truth until one of the Bledloes broke the news that,
“Someone has given your little gaff a tickle.” My room had been turned over and someone had taken every valuable item, included treasured photographs in a silver frame and a Dryche of Mestala – I sometimes hope that the latter ate the thief, but had the thing still been capable of holding a charge it would not have been in my hands. Not at that age.

I understood much more about the actual, hands-on reality of burglary during and after that experience, and I understood much more about telling the truth with wit, charm and the intent to mislead.

It doesn’t always take wit or charm, either. The Biology and Munitions teacher did not refer to experimental creatures as tortured, frightened animals (or demons.) He called them “Preparations”. Was that a lie or the truth?

I enjoy reading and I perhaps think about language more than most. I study – labelling theory. Putting a de-humanising label on someone to objectify them. For instance – is it murder to kill a vampire? Of course not, the creature is dead already. Is it murder to kill a demon? Is it murder to kill a psychopath? Is it murder to kill an enemy soldier? Is it murder to burn a witch? Many generations said that it is not.

The dehumanisation of the victim, re-classification under labels and the semantic distortion of the outrages that follow. Right. For various reasons I gave this a lot of thought – not least because I was involved with a group that were interested in deconstructing the concepts of right and wrong, when I was Ripper young.

Buffy could have fought Glory the Hell-Goddess to her last breath. Glorificus looked human – and I suspect that she was becoming more humanised by the minute – but Buffy knew that she was not. The extent to which Glory was a danger to Dawn would have motivated her, too.

Ben was another matter. Was it truth or lie to think that Ben was human? No matter. It wasn’t a moment for quibbling. It was a moment for action, and there was only one person who could take that action, at least, without being opened to further corruption. My soul scarred years ago. I said later that it didn’t trouble me at all.

Samuel Butler’s statement is a glib distortion of the truth, worded to sound sophisticated and to appeal to the credulous – much like the comment of the burglar whom I once knew.

Muse; Rupert Giles,
Fandom BTVS
words; 518
watcher_diaries: (teatime - percythejock)
How strange; these tags hurt, even after all these years. Even the map and compass reminded me of one of my uncles. I could almost smell his tobacco. The aliens amongst us. )

Muse; Watcher Rupert Giles.
Fandom, BTVS
Words, 1033
watcher_diaries: (teatime - percythejock)
Hmmm, I suspected at first that it might be the Great Menhir on the Dark Island. It looks very like it, but it is difficult to ascertain, with that lightning.

Field trip. )

Muse; Rupert Giles.
Fandom; BTVS
Words. 405
watcher_diaries: (teatime - percythejock)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Mark Twain

I wonder when I first learned that. I could parrot the phrase from a very young age, of course. I went to what you might call vocational training – a boarding school for potential Watchers – at approximately nine years old.

Courage. )

Muse. Rupert Giles.
Fandom. BTVS
Words. 706
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