Mo

Mo

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Apr 12, 2024

If feeding the hungry is what separates a butcher from an executioner, and bringing harm  is what separates a protector from a husband, then, ultimately, what separates a monster from a human - two individuals who seek to "live in peace" and who won't hesitate to bring harm to achieve such a purpose ?

From "Appearance" to "the number of lives they've taken" or  "the animosity their hearts may harbor",  all reasons can be stated, but I don't think any of them will be really relevant in that everyone from the Paragon to the simple inhabitant of Velan can be considered a "monster" to a certain extent. The scales covering the vermilion woman's body would make her more monstrous than Omen's father, who killed his wife in front of his son;  the hands of both Leviathans and Nephilim are stained with blood however one will remain more monstrous than the other - they purpose being "more legitimate"  - etc....

Overall, since everyone's eyes are subjective mirrors, even the most "human" of individuals can be reflected as a "monster" . Then perhaps the common denominator of these mirrors would be "humanity" or, in other words, "showing humanity" - be it compassion, kindness or sensitivity? But then again, everyone is more or less sensitive to these components implying disparate qualifications with different meanings- a bit like the system of names.

And "Nomination" implies "commitment".  In the case of "monster" and "human", " to commit" would refer " killing"  : since a monster's life is of lesser value - harmful - than that of a human, every "monsters" deserve to be killed. In other words, to name one a monster is akin to dehumanize them. Such a dynamic is applied by the Paragons, who are unable to name  someone either a monster or a human by themselves (either because of their training, history, habit or simply under the influence of Harbinger) thus "blindly" follow the orders and qualifications of Omen's father. ( until the golden haired boy decides to create a new one by wanting to stop "killing").

Protecting the people of Velan, they may act as "protectors", but they also bring harm, just as a"husband" might. They both care, they both harm, the only difference being that in the case of the "husband" it's the person they care about who suffers that pain.

As the staging of Aelem's death in the town - with Lace and Howl's reactions - or simply the fact that Omen cares about her showed, it's hard to hurt someone when that someone is individualized, when they are given meaning.

In the end, it can be said that what makes someone's life more precious than another is simply the meaning one chooses to give it - and to a certain extent, one won't hesitate to turn into a "monster" to save that "life". And isn't such a dynamic the crux of the Trolley's problem ?

Side note 1 :  the outstretched hand, Aelem's invitation, is a bit like an invitation to cross the fence for Omen, or at least a 'materialization' of support to help him cross. Given his reaction, it's as if he'd finally "put words" to something he'd been waiting for.
Side note 2 : the concept of "humanity" could be linked to the one of "lifeline" mentioned earlier, the latter encompassing both aspects of subjectivity and objectivity.

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:19

Apr 11, 2024

"We are guardians, but also a bunch of miserable wretches that are constantly fighting against threats and madness." ( lotm ), I think this quote applies well to the Paragons - guardians of humanity fighting Danger in all its forms - as to Aelem - a prey to two different purposes: her own and that of the dragon. 

So in this maze of repulsive forces, their only salvation is a breadcrumb to humanity, their own humanity - flowers for the Paragons, "normalcy" for Aelem. With all its symbolism in mind, there was simply nothing better than the flower to symbolize the butterfly's lifeline - a breadcrumb personified by Aelem, the Hyacinth, in that it is alongside her that Omen's humanity is most vivid. 

Beyond that, what's interesting here is that what makes this lifeline solid is not so much its sturdiness or durability - as, for example, stone or stainless steel might be - but the symbolism it encompasses: happy memories, a wish. 

Indeed, in addition to its beauty, a flower is also something very fragile that needs to be protected if it is not to lose its beauty and wither rapidly. To an extent, in line with the concept of inevitability/individualization, a flower is destined to wither when one picks it - when one individualizes it - in order to keep it close to them, so protecting it would mean trying to postpone this inevitability as far as possible. On the other hand, wouldn't picking it mean becoming an "executioner" in a way? Such a logic must surely be nuanced. 

I think that the dynamic of "picking a flower" for Omen refers more to the fact of marrying Aelem, individualizing her completely, and the responsibilities that this entails, not so much protecting her from others as protecting her from himself (in that, if need be, he would, according to him, be the mirror of his father and the potential harm he could inflict on her will be what makes her fade). 

On the other hand, no matter whether it's picked or not, "the Flower that once has bloomed forever dies". "Die" can take many forms. Aside from Aelem's death, I wonder if it could simply refer to her no longer wishing to be Omen's flower. I just have a bad omen, so to speak, regarding "I'll be by your side as long as you wish". Aelem may no longer wish to be Omen's flower for various reasons, but if so, will Omen accept her decision ? On the other hand, such a sentence illustrates the fact that our Butterfly Knight is always a little reluctant to commit to her, or at least to acknowledge that he "wants" to do something for himself,  in that the commitment to stay by her side underlies her wish. 

Overall, both Aelem and Omen are each other's lifeline, in that they keep each other from going "mad" and reveal their "good sides". What's more, no matter what the person is named,  don't their eyes contain the most beautiful mirror of all - one in which they are reflected simply as they are ? Then Omen's eyes simply reflect Aelem, a beautiful woman, just as her eyes reflect a magnificent painting not too similar to the Harbinger of the Paragon. 

Because they both refer to "the announcement of an event", "Omen" and "Harbinger" often tend to be put on the same level, to be considered synonyms or, more generally, "reflections". Such a perception is portrayed here in that both Omen and his father share the same blood, perhaps have certain similar physical characteristics, or simply walk the "same path". 

However, one difference remains, at least to me.

"Harbinger" is on a more concrete level in that "it" announces, declares, something that is going to happen - just as Omen's father announced to the golden haired boy that he is "the Omen of a powerful future". Nevertheless, this declaration is vague, imprecise - in other words,  we know something is going to happen, but not "how" is it going to happen (a bit like clouds announcing a storm, but we don't know whether it will be violent or not). "Omen on the other hand, is more abstract, and refers more to something that can happen. This "event" can be positive or negative, depending on the meaning one gives it. To Omen's father, Omen is the omen of his Will, to the people of Velan he is the omen of "peace", to Aelem the omen of a life she's always dreamed of. 

In a way, Omen has always sought his meaning in what he reflected in others, or more simply in what they "declared" about him - acting according to their words, disguising himself sometimes as a doll, sometimes as a knight or a vassal: in anything that might reflect in the "mirror" something other than the image of his father, whom he so abhors.

Nevertheless, one can disguise themselves as anyone, but they remain ultimately "themselves". Then "crossing the fence" is not simply a matter of flying off the flower on which he's sitting, of breaking out of the cocoon in which he's trapped, but also of agreeing to look at his own reflection in "the mirror" and declare what it means to him - in other words, whether this "Omen" he sees  is a bad one or a good one.

Side note : I didn't dwell on it but I really like the fact that this chapter "puts into words" concepts that have been more or less implicitly depicted since the beginning of the story, such as fence, inevitability, the meaning of names, the notion of purpose etc....

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:18

Apr 02, 2024

To:GoneSoSoon

I fully agree that such processes are "normal" for human beings. However, the manner, degree, frequency, and subjects to which they are attached are inherent to each individual - age, experience, maturity, simple tastes or emotions are all influencing factors.  How "inconsistent" or "consistent" your characters appear will depend in part on how you've portrayed them throughout the story.

Underlying such processes/changes is always a more or less implicit/meaningful thread that will make the whole thing consistent in the eyes of the reader.

Applied to your work, it's precisely this "common thread" that keeps your characters coherent. In other words, it makes them consistent in their "inconsistency," in that there is a common thread behind each of their thinking and motivations that the reader can graps to understand why they can sometimes be so different.

This "common thread", this basis, can be clearly explained (e.g. the influencing factors: Omen's or Agreste's past, Kitsch's aspirations) or more abstract like your characters' different worldviews or different concepts (being a Leviathan/self-love/mask/commitment etc...).

Generally speaking, what makes a character consistent is that they follow their "own" line of conduct. However, the latter is not immutable, nor is their state of mind, so they may sometimes show inconsistency in order to change or simply to try new things. But isn't that human nature to adopt such behaviors? It will always be possible to relate your characters' thinking or motivations to this question's answer.

More generally, I think that as long as you manage to tie such processes to one or more threads or some kind of reason, your characters will always be consistent, and their inconsistency will always be justified, even if the latter seems "too much" because it will be for the sake of something.  And so far, you've always managed to do that. Let me give you 2/3 examples :
- Omen: his main thread is "putting out grief" - to do so he will adopt several "antagonistic" purposes, which will even end up contradicting his other threads (e.g. empty doll), but does this make him inconsistent? No. Why? Because there's another thread, the butterfly's one, which justifies the fact that he's always reaching out to others, even though he wants to isolate himself. The fact that he's attached to Aelem doesn't contradict the one that he wants to be an empty doll, because Omen is first and foremost a human being (and you've highlighted some spontaneous emotions throughout the story, so the reader implicitly understands that he's not that empty, or that he's starting to get attached to her).
- Aelem on the fact that she refuses to isolate herself: running away with Omen may seem incoherent, insofar as the purpose he has given her partly encompasses everything she longed for. Nevertheless, there's a thread running through her story from the beginning: "normalcy," and for someone who's been forced to live as a vagrant, there is nothing more 'normal' than wanting to live surrounded, in society. What makes her choice a consistent one is that she has stuck to her "line of conduct". It doesn't necessarily mean she's right, or that such a choice is necessarily the right one, but it's consistent with the character you've presented from the beginning of the story.
- Agreste: The choice he was about to make at the end of YHHM was not inconsistent regarding the meaning of his common thread.

On that note, what also contributes to a good reading experience is that your characters make REALISTIC choices, and not necessarily good ones right away (e.g., when Agreste first spoke to Lihal) - which again, I think, makes your characters consistent with your desire to "humanize" them as much as possible ( after all it's part of being human to make mistakes and bad decisions).  More generally, it's good to see your characters in trouble, and not having everything handed to them on a platter because of their "role" in the story. 

Finally, what keeps your characters consistent is simply the fact that you take the time to introduce one "concept" or "thread" before introducing another. This gives the reader plenty of time to come to grips with what's at stake. In addition, since these concepts echo each other, it again helps the reader to connect the various decisions and thoughts to make them consistent, or to better understand the "inconsistencies".

Generally speaking, "inconsistency" is definitely something interesting to read. It makes your characters more human, and adds a little more unexpectedness to them and the story. In another way, it encourages reading by making one wonder about how an "inconsistency" can influence the rest of the plot.

Beyond that, how interesting an inconsistency will be depends to a large extent on two things: the way you present it in your story, and the state of mind of the reader.

From what I've read and what you've explained, you're more inclined to develop your characters' worldviews and dwell on the "psychological" effects of events on them. As a result, your characters are more likely to be inconsistent than if you were content to write very generic, "superficial" ones. In other words, the more in-depth you go with their development, the more likely they are to experience inconsistency.  Knowing your state of mind, it's a good thing, if not essential, to have inconsistencies.

The way you present the inconsistencies will have a lot to do with not making the reader feel like elements are coming out of nowhere or unwarranted in the middle of the story.

As for whether or not inconsistency is interesting to the reader, unfortunately, it's mostly a matter of taste. Some people prefer stories that get straight to the point, without too much psychological development and more rational choices for the characters rather than choices guided by their emotions, while others like more development, more "inconsistencies".

It will always be "too much" for one or "not enough" for another, so as long as it's "enough" for you, that's all that matters. 

In all objectivity, and as far as I can remember, I don't think I ever had the impression that your characters were "too" inconsistent in their thinking and motivations. On the contrary, this inconsistency has been part of their evolution or development - and I even think that so far you've found a balance (through worldbuilding, the importance you give to different facets of the characters at different moments in the story, the lessons they learn from their mistakes, etc.) that allows you to avoid doing "too much".On the other hand, the fact that "inconsistencies" don't just fit into the scheme of "I have a problem => the inconsistency is the solution to my problem => everything's for the best" can make them even more interesting to the reader, in that they are somehow "unexpected".

To give you a few examples of inconsistencies:
- If Omen's father becomes a blameless father overnight and comes to Omen in tears, apologizing without further explanation
 - people accepting Aelem overnight without explanation
the dragon gives Aelem his name for no reason in the next chapter
- Omen marries Aelem (at this point in the story), completely happy and fulfilled, whereas he was undecided 2 days before. In this case, I doubt that the "getting over his grief" thread will be enough to justify such behavior, at least not the way you've presented it + knowing how important every commitment, every name is to him ; unless you introduce another thread or find another explanation - but then you'll have to figure out how to introduce such a point without distorting what you've written so far.
- The only purpose that counts for Omen is to spend the rest of his life alongside Aelem, and the others are completely elided until the end.
- If you're portraying a very indecisive character, it would be inconsistent to see him make a clear decision unless you've dropped a few hints here and there before finally getting to the heart of the matter later.

To sum up:
- The common thread is definitely what makes your characters hold up to  this consistency while being "inconsistent". It can be diverse and varied, but it's essential if the reader is to understand what you're getting at.  I don't think it's necessarily about revealing everything at once, it's just about giving the right amount of informations, which you do well.
- You have to find a balance between the inconsistencies and their benefits for character development on the one hand, and how the story will "support" them on the other, what elements will respond to this or that problem, or how this or that concept will be introduced. Once that question is answered, the next step is to find the right time to introduce one concept rather than another, or if you want to integrate two, how would that be relevant, or would it be too much? Is this the right time in the story? Such a process is immediately apparent as one read and I think you're doing well
- Some characters will tend to be more inconsistents than others, but such a difference is not a problem, as it will be interesting for the reader to see how such opposite profiles work together.
- All means are good to make your story interesting to the reader, but the most important thing is that it remains interesting to you.
- Just as there are plenty of motivations or thoughts for characters to adopt, there are an infinite number of reasons why they might make such changes, and I think what's interesting for the reader isn't necessarily why your characters have changed their state of mind, but rather why they've adopted this state of mind and not another.

I hope these points are relevant enough to help you a little. Will keep this matter  in mind for the future just in case :)

I'm happy my comments are making you feel better in your own life in one way or another, they're here for that too. I hope everything will be okay for you

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:17

Mar 30, 2024

“Nothing should be given a name, lest that very name transform it.” ( Virginia Woolf ), I think that such a line embodies well Omen mindest when it comes to relationships. Indeed, naming something is above all a way to declare the value it may have  - and from this "value"  stems a certain degree of attachment.

Then for a doll for whom nothing has its "own personal" meaning except what others declare, who always hides his attachment behind impersonal relationships, naming one by their name might hold the greatest value possible. From the outset, Omen had always seen Aelem as a human being, like everyone else; an ultimately impersonal point of view, devoid of individuality. Nevertheless, despite his desire for impassivity to curb his attachment, Omen began to individualize Aelem: little by little the vermilion woman was no longer a mere human to be protected, but Aelem, a person.

So Omen calling Aelem by her name is a way for him to declare that he now sees her as an individual, that she has a special meaning for him.  I think it's a very nice way of portraying Omen's feelings -  whether romantic or not - towards her. Moreover, if I remember correctly, "individuality" was a notion that's been around for a long time, both in the concepts of actors and in a line that Aelem once said - I can't remember its exact words, but it seems to me that it was akin to just seeing people as people before/ rather than individuals.

At the same time, the protean aspect of a name is illustrated by the notions of "clothing" and "intimacy".  Indeed, for Aelem, who lived apart from the world as a spectator of mores, "clothing" meant nothing more than a means of hiding her scales from the gaze of others, or simply of surviving. On the other hand, the very essence of intimacy being "private", such a notion could not have been something she could have caught a glimpse of by simply observing folks outside.

To an extent, it can be said that her scales represented something of the "intimacy" a "human" might have. Thus, her body as such had no particular significance for her - hence her behavior at the tailor's shop. On the other hand, her cogitating on whether or not the dress would fit her was our protagonist's way of living the life of a woman she so longed for.

Another interesting thing is the "Omen's proposal", which highlights two different life wishes: one wishing to get away from the world that "adores" him, and the other wishing to live in a world that demeans her.

It now remains to be seen whether Omen has made such an offer of commitment as Protector or Omen. I think the two "roles" were confused in that, on the one hand, "running away" is a way for him to escape the inevitable by finding a "real", meaningful, purpose alongside Aelem, but it's also a way of protecting the latter from possible reprisals, even if they do manage to find the dragon's name. In any case, there was something authentic about such a declaration, and I think that in a way Omen was allowing himself to dream, to wish,  and more generally, to think about a future devoid of inevitability.

However, Aelem's question pushed him into a certain introspection and brought him back to reality, or at least to his sad reality.

On the one hand, knowing that his problems matter to her means, more generally speaking, that his emotions, things that were of no value to anyone until now, matter to someone. On the other hand, sharing such burdens with her will imply exposing her to the inevitability he is dealing with, sharing his weaknesses, and making him vulnerable in some way.  In this way, they'll both be a "weakness" to each other and managing to protect themselves can be a perilous mission.

Accepting that one's problems become those of a loved one, even though it's an important step in commitment", can be frightening, as it can make them feel guilty for placing such a burden on the shoulders of someone whom they want both to protect from harm and to look their best. Nevertheless, despite such fear, I sincerely hope that Omen will manage to take such a step.

After all, burdens seem to be lighter when carried by two - and crossing the fence is easier when one can rely on a warm hand.

Side note : Your take on different subjects is something I do really appreciate about you. Besides it being interesting and thought provoking,  it is just nice to see such thorough reflection . Your pov is one of your greatest strength alongside your ability to subvert expectations - and these allow you to create both unique and elaborate plots that go beyond the genre to which they belong or the prejudices the latter might hold e.g. romances that aren't for the sake of love by exploring commitment, self love and characters' personnal struggles. I don't know if I mentioned it back then, but such a "line of conduct" was something I really loved in YHHM so I'm glad to see that you're "constant" with it, but even if you weren't, it won't be a problem. Just as writing allows people to approach new points of view and constantly push back the boundaries, it is above all a means of conveying their own - and those may be more or less similar to certain prejudices or déjà vu. I think there is nothing wrong with it as long as the story remains authentic. And being authentic in your own way, is again, something I appreciate about you. Reading is not only about hunting details ( unlike what my blocks of text might suggest lol ) it's also about catching a glimpse of your perception regarding certain matters and how you will make them your own. In the same way, to me,  your work isn't meaningful only because of the symbolism it contains, it's meaningful because of your "meaning" within it. And your meaning is something I find beautiful. Overall, I do not only love your stories because of their beautiful prose and details, I simply love them because you wrote them. When it comes to novels, you're an author I do genuinely appreciate - your work means a lot to me, so are you as well ^^

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:17

Mar 26, 2024

Marriage is often seen as a seal upon two soul's desire to live eternally together, a means to declare their love towards each other. However, notwithstanding the beautiful symbolism it can hold, marriage remains a simple commitment and one can have many reasons to engage themselves. Then marriage is nothing more than a protean concept symbolizing for instance an exchange between two families, a mere component of normalcy.

To an extent, Death has always been Life's inevitability - everything is bound to disappear in one way or another. Then Mankind's main purpose would be to put off grief in the best way possible whether or not knowing if this conclusion - which is certain -  is about to happen soon.  To that end,  "love"," hatred", "normalcy", are so many plays- purposes/distractions - where one can act and distract themselves but more importantly give their life the best- or the most- meaning possible.

Both in its "classic" conception (which Aelem's pov may represent) and in that of Gaelis, the key points and underlying ideas of marriage remain the same: distraction, commitment, meaning and ( perhaps) love. However while the former implies a certain " freedom" in that spouses can decide which meaning they want to give to their common existence, the latter embodies a more narrow purpose exclusively death-centred  in that the inevitability  is like a heavier sword of Damocles, hanging over the spouse's heads. Such a conception brings another role in the play : the executionner - which I think embodies pretty well one of the butterfly's effect of commitment.

To an extent, given her nature in the eyes of others - a monster - and the dragon inside her, Aelem's execution is something of an inevitability. So for Omen, as for her in a way, the marriage will be the last line of defense before the certain conclusion - a way of buying a little time to find the dragon's name, or some other solution.

In any case, whatever the different "purposes" that may be at play for our Butterfly Knight, marriage is a kind of inevitability.

As a "protector", it is his "duty"( purpose ) to protect Aelem from Death as best as he can. However, in this case, the commitment takes on a more impersonal dimension in that Aelem remains simply a "vassal", "someone" to be protected devoid of name, meaning. So, if he were to take on the role of " executionner", killing her would certainly be a failure of his mission, but it would be less painful because of the distance between them. On the other hand,  such a failure can be seen as a blessing in disguise, in that killing her means "saving" humanity - it's one life for another.

As a "lover", marrying her means preventing himself from losing someone he cares about. It expresses a certain attachment, a certain recognition of his feelings for her, acknowledging her as a "weakness". Then the vermilion woman is no longer a "vassal" but Aelem, a woman he loves: the commitment becomes more personal. Killing her will not simply mean the failure of his mission as a knight, but a repetition of the past, meaning that he once again has been unable to protect someone he cares about.

To me the golden haired boy is a bit like a nesting doll, each of its components representing one of the role he's playing such as a knight, an empty doll , a protector and somehow the closer you get to the center of it the more personal the roles will be until you get to "Omen", a human being, who he truly is. However just as this role can help the butterfly hatch, the "executionner" can also become a part of the nesting doll that won't open anymore - another cocoon preventing our butterfly from fully hatching.

Side note 1 : such a vision of marriage embodies well the concept of shouldering death for the sake of others

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:16

Mar 22, 2024

2/3 ""little"" developments I want to add : 

- about Omen's "purposes" : At first sight, a " distraction" is supposed to prevent someone to think about something. Then,  applying "strictly", each "purposes" Omen will tend to follow - consciously or not, because of his nature, being a butterfly symbolically speaking- ( e.g shouldering death, helping aelem living a normal life, becoming a doll ) are supposed to distract him, prevent him of thinking about this inevitability approaching inexorably. However, here, their crux remains vivid and even more pregnant , as his father and what he embodies for our Knight is in a way what is preventing him from getting "fully" distracted ( On that note , I think that's Aelem might be, to Omen,  the one that comes closest to this concept of "distraction" as the latter tends to truly "forget" - e.g experiencing spontaneous/ genuine emotions -   even if it's for a short amount of time. ). Indeed, just as becoming an empty doll allows him to feel nothing and put grief aside, it allows him to distance himself from others to prevent his father from hurting them. Shouldering death is a way to protect others, but it's also the only means his father ever taught him and this will remain "the only one" as long as the latter is alive ( nevertheless, this point could be nuanced with the fact that Omen usually don't kill/use his powers etc.. ). In the end, I kinda feel like his father remain a sort of persistent background pattern . Then, like a butterfly trapped within a spiderweb, the more he will try to escape, the more he will get stuck and so the grief will be. Like all roads lead to Rome,  all paths he'll choose will lead him to "the inevitable" => the center of the labyrinth he's been trapped into since he was a kid. Hatred, resilience, denying, gloominess, there are so many ways to put off grief, and choosing the right "name" for those feelings/ means can be a harsh thing to do, even more when time is running out.
Grief is a flower that never truly fades, however one can choose to bathe it in tears or in the warmth of a genuine smile. There aren't bad or good choices but only one that will allow them to move forward - and, whatever the outcome may be, I truly hope that Omen will be able to move forward, to look at his own flower without being hurt by "its faded scales". 

- about Omen's "purpose"/" motivation" : his father's death being "the inevitable", it's become the focal point of Omen's life - the flower to which he's irrevocably drawn, to which he's trapped. Then, when all one has ever known and lived for is that same flower, what happens when it withers? When revenge is erected as a driving force/ motivator, characters are supposed to start living when their "thirst" is quenched, when their goal is reached, when their vengeance is satisfied - and when the latter involves death, death is seen as liberation. However, when this "revenge" is inevitable, things are different : whether the butterfly likes it or not, the flower will wither. So the only choice before it happens is either to take off early ( find a purpose ) or to stay on the flower ( distract oneself or face reality / killing it or watching it wither ). And all this is, I think, part of this "putting off the grief" mechanism you explained. On the other hand, I wonder if it could  be linked to the fence metaphor too. In this case, Omen's father is in a way the last flower in his garden, and when it withers, our Butterfly will be alone, without purpose, hollow, facing himself .  Perhaps beyond the fear of "going to the other side of the fence", there's also the fear of being alone with himself, of seeing his garden empty, devoid of flowers- except maybe one remnant : the grief flower, the only flower the butterfly can cling to for now. Then "crossing the fence" would take on a whole new dimension,  linked to the butterfly effect, to its wingbeats, biologically / symbolically speaking .

- about the "butterfly effect" : firstly let me correct this horrendous grammar  mistake =>  " As his father's blindness is a result of the "butterfly effect", it could be said that Omen has "succeeded" in protecting Aelem from it" here I meant " protecting Aelem from HIM" not from " IT" :| Anyway, since the beginning, "the butterfly effect" was presented in a pessimistic light, which is relevant in that such a vision is similar to Omen's view of his powers . Nevertheless, I wonder if such a power might not have a positive effect in the end? Like a sort of double-edged blade? I mean, his father went blind because Omen's wound weakened him, and it's because of his blindness that he didn't see Aelem as a  "Leviathan" but as a simple "human being" and hated her as such instead of killing her. On the other hand, such a situation could echo the fact that everything has a price and that free things, such as "normalcy" or "life" cost the most in the end. In other words, for someone to live a "normal" life, someone else has to pay the price, sadly.

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:15

Mar 19, 2024

Once again, this chapter brilliantly illustrates the concept of "names" or, more simply, how the same name can have different meanings. Here, I think the two main concepts are "child" and "fear" (although fear may not be the proper word, sadly it's the only one my sleepy brain can think of). 

Concerning Omen: to understand what such concepts mean to him, it's necessary to keep in mind the "lesson" his father taught him when he was a child, or in other words, that every person he becomes attached to will become one of his weaknesses, which he'll have to protect - something he is "unable"  to do.

Putting this idea alongside that of the "butterfly" creates a more interesting dynamic. Because Omen is a butterfly, he is naturally inclined to fly towards flowers and help them bloom - whether unconsciously or not. And in the idea of "helping them bloom" lies the idea of a certain protection. Yet, how can he pursue this purpose, if every flower he lands on is meant to be destroyed by his father? (as evidenced by his mother's death and Cael's missing wings - on this point, I assume that such mutilation is his father's work, but perhaps I'm just overthinking). 

Condemning a flower to wither, preventing it from flowering in the long term - these are just some of the implicit butterfly effects that a few wingbeats can produce. And these are so many effects that contradict the butterfly's primary purpose, its very nature . In a way,  Omen is in the middle of two antithetical goals: flying towards the flowers and flying away from them. 

I find this really interesting. It's even more so considering - as you explained previously- the notion of "purpose" as a "distraction" from the inevitable. 

Just as all roads lead to Rome, any "purpose" Omen chooses to pursue will lead him back to his father and the "inevitable" he embodies.

Anyway, with all these ideas in mind, then two solutions are possible to protect  others : to distance oneself from them - not to land on the flower - or to put some "distance" - by becoming an impassive doll devoid of feelings. And once again, such hypotheses are brilliantly illustrated. The first is through Cael, a "child" - a vulnerable being in need of protection - whom Omen has """" abandoned""" to prevent her from suffering the same fate as his mother. The second is simply Omen's attitude towards others, his constant distance (perhaps this explains why he's "afraid" of going to see Juni, in that she was one of his childhood "friends" or at least a playmate, but I'm not entirely sure). 

Concerning Aelem, we have a more "innocent" vision. As she's just a "camera of the world", having been a mere spectator of other people's lives, I think that for her, a child symbolizes more the "product" of a relationship between two people. This could explain the emotions our protagonist feels when Juni mentions the word "child", "your child", "my child", as well as the question she asks Omen about his relationship with the witch. 

Finally, concerning Juni, the word "child" implies a certain sarcasm, a certain second degree, as someone might do when talking about their pets, or when addressing a "friend" or someone "close". 

Side note 1 about "so your usefulness is in the present moment": applied to the other characters, this line has even more meaning. In Aelem's case, it would mean freeing herself from the "past" (her people's history) that holds her back, to take full advantage of the present moment.For Omen, turning his back on the future, the inevitable, to be fully "present". ( this surely needs to be nuanced ) 
Side note 2 : Given the importance of "names", I wanna believe that Omen naming Aelem "my lover" has much more meaning than a simple "joke" or a result of sarcasm
Side note 3 : In this chapter Omen seemed to be less empty, experiencing more spontaneous emotions
Side note 4 : As his father's blindness is a result of the "butterfly effect", it could be said that Omen has "succeeded" in protecting Aelem from it, in that the latter is  unable to "see" her and what she represents. Of course, that doesn't make him unable to hate her.

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:15

Mar 10, 2024

The future is a mirror without glass, a gloomy void where one wanders, hoping to avoid the reflection of their past mistakes tinted with regrets, guided by a dim sparkle of hope. Then, in this vacuity our doll stray itself, its lips muttering to its conscience " I have no other foe to fear save Fear" ( Frederic Lawrence Knowles ), its footsteps colliding with shards of glass - only remnants of a heart he once had.

Such a mirror stands before Omen's eyes in this forest on the edge of the Misted Veil. In it, "weakness" (Aelem), "ability" (in its moral dimension - to protect - and in its material dimension - the so-called butterfly effect), "Fear" (in front of imposing brigands, facing the threat), "death" *are as many reflections of that night when he became a spectator in spite of himself, his acting not being sufficient. However, now things have changed, our Butterfly has grown up, and so has his "acting", enabling him to act and break these reflections one by one with the blade of his sword.

In the past, due to his "youthful weakness", Omen's power "worked" slowly, too slowly, implying among other things that "the enemy" could not be "readily killed". With this in mind, then Omen father being blind is only the result, a long-term aftermath of the wound the gold haired boy inflicted on his face by throwing the knife at him (if I remember correctly). This is reinforced by the fact that his father told him that his "ability" will weaken him within fifteen years. In the woods, on the other hand, the "butterfly effect" works in a wingbeat, so to speak, wiping the life from the brigand's bodies in a handful of seconds.

Now our Knight can act like a useful monster, just as his father instructed him to do. For the sake of others, he shoulders death, just as his father taught him. And then following these words, he looks up again towards the sky " where the sun that had bathed the morning in warmth had faded, giving way to dark gray storms clouds". Once again, life and its warmth had been eclipsed by death, leaving only a harsh winter behind. Perhaps looking to the sky is his way of addressing his late mother. So, perhaps, for her sake, he will shoulder his father's death? But is this what he really wants, or in other words, is killing his father part of his own sake? I have mixed feelings about this, but I'll keep my thoughts for later.

Anyway, at first I thought that "soon he'll die by my hands" meant that Omen was going to kill his father in the generic sense of the term, i.e. without his powers, with his own ability. Now, with the scope of his powers in mind, I'm just wondering if it doesn't simply refer to his powers finishing him off in the long run. Perhaps later Omen will have to make a choice between these hypotheses? A choice between life and death, or to use the Leviathan metaphor, a choice between letting the dragon get the better of him or continuing to live with it, cohabiting. Here, "letting the dragon take control" would imply the death of his father, and by extension continuing to shed blood and perpetrate his Will, while "cohabiting" would imply the choice for Omen to live with his hatred carved into his bones without making the wish to quench his thirst for vengeance the main purpose of his life, the only way to heal himself.

After all, ' "Happiness" is a butterfly which, pursued, never lets itself be caught but which, if one know how to sit still, will perhaps one day come to rest on the shoulder.'

Side note : From its abstract symbolism to its "biological" aspect and the various ideas linked to its lexical field, I do really appreciate how you chose to explore the concept of "butterfly". Knowing that the latter is a pollinator in the same way as the bee, I think it's a nice link to make with the hyacinth - Aelem's flower. Beyond Omen's powers, the butterfly effect can be applied to many other situations in the story, which again is really interesting and well thought-out ^^ Beyond that, now I'm wondering how far you've chosen/will choose to "explore" this concept further. Among its facets, one that comes to my mind is the tragic fate of the butterfly due to its very short life expectancy, once it has hatched. In a way, all its efforts and suffering will "only" enable it to spread its magnificent wings for a limited time. But on the other hand, this time will contain the best moments of its existence, as it will be free to explore the other side of the fence as it wishes. Knowing that the butterfly is also a symbol of eternity, isn't it ironic that sometimes, "forever" may feel brief as it comes to an end ?

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:14

Mar 04, 2024

" 'Hope' is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all" ( Emily Dickinson). Nevertheless, within the midst of this storm of hatred, where rains of blows mingle with a river of blood and tears in a cacophony of lamentations, the golden haired boy's hope is silenced for a moment. From now on, Omen is nothing more than a spectator of Death - in spite of himself, having tried in vain to confront Him.

Then, his wings clipped by his father's blows and words, this little butterfly binds within a cocoon bathed in his mother's blood, "his weakness" that he failed to protect lacking the ability to do anything - and not the capacity. While the former refers to an "actual" skill, the later embodies the "potential" to develop a skill. To me, this is what makes his father's statement even more hurtful, because declaring this event as a consequence of his "lack of ability to do anything" - more specifically to protect - doesn't imply an underdeveloped skill, but a skill he doesn't have. In other words, he couldn't protect his mother because it wasn't in his "nature". ( however, I think this needs to be toned down a bit )

Here, "to protect" is a protean notion. It could refer either to someone acting as a human shield - to protect in the truest sense of the word - or to kill the enemy - the best defense, after all, is attack (more generally, it echoes the knight's main purpose). And being a demon, a beast, a monster => killing is the only way Omen can "protect" - or at least the only path his father wants to show him.

So, "act accordingly in the future" could echo on the one hand acting as such, becoming a useful monster by using his abilities - perhaps his power - and on the other hand freeing himself from any emotional ties so as not to have any weaknesses. This would in part explain his fear of crossing the fence, or in a way his reluctance to let anyone cross the latter, since it would be nothing more than a "weakness" he will be unable to protect.

So being unable to declare, Omen can only act as a Knight, perform as a Monster, drowning in an ocean of regrets. And so the tune of the thing with feather begins again, lulling his cocoon with a melody of revenge - his "new" purpose. In a way, for him, killing his father is the only way to "rebirth". But on the other hand, I think this purpose was also the one his father wanted him to have, wasn't it?

To understand this, we need to look at the butterfly's double symbolism - evolution and monster - through the prism of the latter. For him, his son is just a caterpillar, a weak "monster", inspiring disgust in that he is unable of fitting into the cocoon of his "legacy", his "Will". So, for his son to become a butterfly ( a useful Monster ) and become the "Omen" of a powerful future, he can either be his greatest supporter or become the object of his greatest hatred - by killing his mother and planting the seed of vengeance within his heart. Hatred, desire for revenge, resentment are indeed so many powerful feelings that can lead someone to become stronger - to grow up. Thus, these feelings will lead the caterpillar to grow again and again, until it becomes a butterfly, freeing itself from the cocoon that imprisons it (in this case, freeing itself from the cocoon may refer to the death of its father).

In other words, Omen's father has become his son's "dragon".

In the end, Humans may all be "Leviathans", shells of a burden of pain - a dragon of their own - wandering along Life's path, under the sweet melody of Hope, the echo of a tomorrow where they might be able to find a little respite, a thing with feathers that perches beyond a fence.

Side note 1 : To use the metaphor of metals, gold is weak - soft - by nature. As a result, to build the finest jewels with it, it is necessary to incorporate an "alloy" to "fill in" its gaps and make it stronger. Here, the "alloy" has two dimensions. A more moral one, embodied by the hold his father has over Omen, and a more material one, portrayed by Howl and Lace - silver and steel. ( To this end, I think the notion of inability to protect and "alloy" was brilliantly illustrated by Howl and Lace's "performed" Aelem's death in the city. So, not looking at them, beyond avoiding seeing disappointment in their eyes, is a way for our knight not to "look" at his own shortcomings.
Side note 2 about act accordingly: I think this could have another meaning, in that Omen would do anything not to fit his father's will ( for instance not using his powers )
Side note 3: Aelem saying that everything about Omen is beautiful (including his name ) has so much more symbolism now.

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:13


Feb 28, 2024

"You don’t feel love. You do it. It’s an act. It’s a moment by moment decision and re-commitment. You know because it’s deliberate and conscious." I came across this line on an article yesterday. To sum up a bit, it was mostly written to debunk all "how to know you're in love" articles in which most signs given are mostly emotions everyone can "manifest" towards someone, but did not necessarily imply "love"  itself, so to speak. Here, the subtlety lies within the difference between an emotion and a feeling. To simplify,  while the former refers to a "chemical reaction"- a raw signal- through the body, the latter is simply the interpretation of this same reaction based on one's personal experiences. An emotion is manifesting subconsciously, a feeling not. Then, love as an " act"  refers, among other things, to the process of "nomination", which differentiates attachment from mere admiration or passing attraction => the labeling of an emotion  into a feeling. 

As we've seen, Aelem has no basis of "normalcy" to interpret emotions such as "warmth", " beating heart", "blushed cheeks", " tense body"-  in other words the positive opposite of what she has experienced  until now ( pain/emptiness/ hatred ).Then to her, "love" is a name of a feeling that encompasses all of those, a bit like a little box. However, does this really means that what she is feeling is "love" ? Is Omen really her "lover" or simply the reflection of a world she'd like to live within ? Is the "feeling" she has truly love or simply joy at the idea that she can feel alike to someone ? Those kinds of emotions can also happen when someone is attached to or fond of someone else.

Of course, attachment and affection can be components of " love" but they still remain 3 different concepts that need a different level of commitment/ nomination. But again, how to assign emotions to these concepts is something that comes with "experience" -  in other words a certain "basis of normalcy". And for someone lacking such a " basis"  these subtleties are difficult to pin down. 

One of the consequences of this lack is the binary naming process, oscillating between two extremes, that Aelem uses to put a name to concepts. For instance, to her, the opposite of love is hate, just as the opposite of life is death or the opposite of cold is heat (although she does make a distinction between different types of heat (human/artificial)). On the other hand, this strict dichotomy can be explained by the fact that she has lived " in the extreme".

My words may seem pragmatic, even a little pessimistic, and can surely be nuanced by what naming something implies for the person who does it, and by the fact that as long as a person "declares" then, they "are". But idk I just feel like sometimes one can name something wrong or too quickly even tho there is some beforehand prerequisites to meet and this can lead to a concept that doesn't really have any particular "meaning". 

Anyway, this chapter highlights two visions - meanings-  of "commitment": one akin to "collecting" ( Aelem ) and another more "reserved" ( Omen). 

For our protagonist, "committing " is a way of becoming ever more involved in her purpose : it's about collecting those experiences of a normal woman that will lead her to live the life she has long dreamed of. As a result, the more experience she accumulates, the more she fulfills her prerequisites and the more she can declare herself a woman, as she perceives it. This may partly explain why she's so eager to put a "title" on everything.On the other hand, by wanting to name certain concepts so much, and collect a lot of them, won't they and the commitment itself lose value and meaning? Is putting a "name" to everything necessarily the right thing to do?

As for Omen, the commitment is more "solemn", rather like a knight committing to a mission.  However, as he does not declare, he is only a knight, so such a vision is part of his "normalcy".  So, as someone who's only programmed to fight, and for whom love and attachment aren't a part of the purpose imposed on him, what's the purpose of committing himself to such feelings? For a doll who is nothing but at the service of others' purposes, what does it really mean to have a purpose for oneself ? Such things might explain why he names their relationship as vassal and protector, in a way that allows him to inhibit his feelings and remain in that lexical field of the knight: a "place" where he is "nothing" - or at least allows him to commit a little without crossing the fence... and maybe having a purpose of his own ( protect Aelem, make her able to smile, let her live freely in the world ) 

By declaring himself to be a "protector",  it's as if he's giving himself a title that refers to his own perception. However, this "name" can have a double interpretation. On the one hand, this can be seen as simply an extension of the knight he is. In this case, protecting humans from "monsters" remains within his original purpose and is not innovative in that Aelem is a human in his eyes. So he could protect her both against and the humanity that despises her, since Humans can sometimes the greatest monsters. On the other hand, it can be said that the nuance here is that he's saying "I am YOUR protector, and you are MY vassal" and not "I am A protector, and you are A/MY vassal". To me, the fact that he uses possessive adjectives would still convey a certain closeness, a certain "personal" commitment in their relationship.

For the moment, ""regardless"" of how the relationship is named, I believe it still allows them both to get a little closer to their respective fence.

It may only be one small step for our protector and vassal, but it's surely one giant leap for their Mankind ^^

Side note 1  - " Already, you've assigned titles to it by warping how our relationship is supposed to be" : this sentence sum up well the overall situation
Side note 2 about the prerequisites for naming something: in the same way that these can ensure/guarantee a certain sincere commitment, I wonder whether they might not also prevent our characters from crossing the fence by adding ever more steps, ever more criteria to respect. The fear of the unknown, the fear of change are so many things that can lead people to,  knowingly or unknowingly, set themselves "inhuman" goals in order to allow themselves to take the plunge. It's a bit like "waiting" endlessly for the right time to do something.
Side note 3: what is interesting is that, although their visions of commitment are different, they still bring something positive to each other.

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:12

Feb 25, 2024

A name is a word or phrase that constitutes the distinctive designation of a person or thing. In other words, a name is merely a label for a perception. However, "perception is not the observation of an objective reality, it is the negotiation of a presence in the world", and this implies two things.

Firstly, since perception is subjective, the same thing will be perceived differently by everyone. This explains why Omen and Aelem perceive the concepts of "living", "lover", "being married", "normalcy", "woman" differently. Secondly, it's because the latter is subjective that "labeling" implies the meeting of a set of prerequisites inherent to each person - for example, for Aelem, cooking, loving, being married = to "be" a normal woman.

So, a name, beyond being a labeling of a perception, is the declaration of a commitment: to name something is to commit to that idea, to integrate that idea into oneself. And if one does not "observe" - percieve- themselves to "be"- be referring here to a "name" grouping together a certain number of criteria, then "they are not" - they don't name themselves, they don't commit.

To parallel this concept with the metaphor of the spectator, let's assume that "naming" an artwork   (a concept) is equivalent to "creating" it. In this way, we can distinguish between "active creation", in which the spectator enters the "perception phase" in order to "complete" the work visually, through their own creative thinking (a set of criteria of their "own" - the pre-requisites), and "passive creation", in which the spectator judges the creation as such, without any additional contribution of creative ideas or well-defined meaning => they "undergo" the creation (the concept in the abstract, the notion without "meaning").

To illustrate these "creations", I think the concept of "normalcy" is an interesting one.For Aelem, it's inseparable from the notion of "woman", for which she has established a set of criteria - as she perceives it -: it's an active creation. For Omen, on the other hand, he undergoes Aelem's normality in that he conforms to it to help her "live":  it's a passive creation (though this doesn't mean that he doesn't have a pre-defined "normalcy", which may include the "wish" he spoke of to the knights in the previous chapter).

Here, the opposition between the two perceptions of Aelem and Omen is clearly highlighted through the concepts of "living", "loving", "being married", "woman" and "normalcy". ( But on the other hand, I think it's these concepts that bring them together in a way. )

For our protagonist, "to live" is nothing other than the opposite of "dying" (a purely biological perspective); for Omen, I think it refers more to the notion of "to exist", accepting to commit oneself, to take responsibility for one's path - life - (in other words, to name "life" "existence"). So helping Aelem to live would be akin to enabling her to commit to her life - to exist. This would explain why he's so keen to "undergo" her normality in that I think "living" also means "living" a normal woman's life for Aelem. But does living a normal woman's life really mean "existing" as a normal woman ?

More generally, if one must first live in order to exist, does that mean that existence is reduced to life ? I think this might refer to the notion of "seeking to live"/"is one who is just living, really living at all?" you mentioned.

There's still so much to say about it + about other concepts such as "love", "normalcy" +  the "distance" between omen and Aelem +  their different perceptions + the metaphor of the fence +  Omen and declaration ( to sum up: the only times he "declared" were to say he was a "knight" and here "Aelem's protector", the rest of the time he always used the perception others had of him ) but I'm really sleepy so I'm gonna keep these thoughts for later ^^

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:11


Feb 22, 2024

It's often said that the eyes are the reflection of the soul, as they escape the "fence" of the body and translate a person's true emotions through their own language. For Omen, however, I think they are more of a "glass case of the soul" than a mirror.

To understand this subtlety, it's necessary to return to the fact that Omen is a "maze of a person" and not a "labyrinth of a person".

Although labyrinth and maze refer to a complex and confusing series of paths, they are different.A maze is a complex, branching puzzle that involves choices of path and direction, while a labyrinth has a single continuous path that leads to its center. In other words, it's impossible to get lost in a labyrinth whereas the chances are high in a maze.

So, saying that Omen is a "maze of a person" means that he is made up of a multitude of paths (masks/behaviors), and that taking one of them doesn't guarantee finding what he really is/presents a great chance of getting lost. Applied to the eyes, this would mean that "looking" into Omen's eyes doesn't mean one will find his soul, heart or true self. Among other things, this would explain why 2 different peoples looking at the same thing see either an icy stare for Howl (overall the  Knights) or a warm heart for Aelem.

To return to the idea of the "glass case of the soul", it's as if his soul is always on is always exposed  in his eyes, yet not everyone can stop to observe it. And, unconsciously or not, Omen makes sure of that.

In the case of the knights, this translates into a curtain of half-light falling in front of his gaze, inducing an empty, endless and lifeless stare. Here, I think it's more of a protective mechanism, a way for Omen not to be vulnerable to the gaze of others when he has to face them. In a way,  he may fear seeing in their eyes the same disappointment he once saw in his father's ones.  Eyes being the reflection of the soul, seeing that the knights' true emotions are at odds with their words ( perhaps the fact that they don't see Omen as human ) is something the Butterfly Knight doesn't want to look at.

(In terms of pure body language, the fact of avoiding the gaze of others reflects a certain vulnerability, a feeling of inferiority or a pure "instinct" to conceal something from the person looking at us, which seems to corroborate this hypothesis).

In Aelem's case, there are several reasons. Firstly, it could be argued that she is able to see Omen's heart, in that he only wants to help her live a life of normalcy - without any further motivation or feeling: this would leave us with the pure aspect of the empty doll, a mere instrument in the service of the other's happiness, who would go back into the shadows once his mission is complete.

I think that was the main reason - at the beginning - until a flood of genuine emotion now flows through our Knight. From his blushing cheeks to his heart palpitating at Aelem's innocence, there are so many small, spontaneous and sincere details that soften the doll's heart and bring out his humanity.

( oh btw, having all of this in mind, it was actually very well thought to insist on Omen's eyes dulling when Lace mentioned his father during the automaton's training. As well as symbolizing his aversion to the latter, it also ties in with the whole idea of the distance he puts between himself and the knights. So my criticism on this subject wasn't  that relevant, as I was sorely lacking in hindsight, my apologies ^^' )

Using the fence's metaphor : in a way, the line he purposely draws between him and others is nothing more than a protection to him. This line induces a certain safety distance between the other side of the barrier - "the unknown" (here, the unknown could be represented by what I mentioned earlier) - and Omen himself. And as "The greatest fear stems from the fear of the unknown" ( lotm :) ), he "refuses" to cross this fence and prevents others from seeing what is on his side- his vulnerability, who he really is.

Concerning Aelem, it's a bit special. As the latter reminds him of himself (they have the same goal: to live a life of normalcy), it's a bit as if she is the Omen "of the unknown". In this way, the fear he may have felt in this regard is reduced on the one hand, and helping her to achieve her goal is a way for him to succeed in achieving his own "by proxy". ( but here the mechanism is sincere and devoid of any manipulation, as he points out).

Nevertheless, if this doesn't prevent him from maintaining a certain distance, it sometimes happens that, alongside her, the unknown becomes known, the fence is lifted and he crosses over to the other side for a short moment before " regaining control  and steeling himself."

As for his distance from the knights, this is well illustrated by the way Omen refers to them. "Dog" for Howl - here the meaning is different ( pejorative) than when Lace uses it ( more affective)- and "beloved colleague" for Lace- not "friend". At the beginning of the chapter, he mentions that they didn't come as friends, but I think that deep down he's always refused to consider them as such, as this word in particular still has no meaning for him.

Finally, to explain what Aelem and Omen gazes means to each other , I think there's nothing better than to quote this poem by Yves le Guernes, as it sums up my thoughts quite well ^^ :

"When time shows its distress, when my heart clenches with sadness as I contemplate this time when death is nothing and is mocked. When the awful multitude appears, my heart clenches with loneliness. When all the buoys have fled, what's left in this destroyed world?  I'm left with your eyes and your gaze. Those true mirrors of the soul.  For this traveler lost in the night, they are two sure guides whose flame brings hope back, if only for an evening. Deep as wells, mysterious as night, they burn forever in the flames of love. Light as rain under a moonlit sky, they comfort lost spirits. Sadness and loneliness die in the sunlight of your eyes that touch me. Their rays, through my tears, made a rainbow of my dramas."

Side note 1 about the color red ( it's just me over-interpreting) :
- I have the impression that this color is like a "thread" running through the story. That said, what I like about it is that at the outset, we move from a somewhat "pejorative" meaning of the color - in that it tends to represent Aelem's pain, "the blood of destruction", the artificial heat of Leviathan - to a gradually meliorative meaning in that it also represents the color of Aelem hair, the human warmth that invades her, but also the blushing cheeks of Omen and her. I find it interesting
- about the words used to express this color: ruby, vermillion and carnelian. Vermillion depicts Aelem as a whole (she and the Leviathan), with a positive meaning of passion and love, and a negative meaning of fire, danger or harmful emotions. As for Carnelian, it denotes fieriness, echoing Howl being a little quick-tempered. Last but not least, ruby, a symbol of power and fire, was the best choice to depict the eyes of the dragon within Aelem's dream.
Side note 2 : I'm still wondering what Hyacinthe's notion of jealousy refers to. Is it the jealousy that the dragon might feel at the fact that Aelem "lives" or is it Aelem who would be jealous of something afterwards? 🤔 If so, I can't wait to see how it plays out.
Side note 3 about the dragon's name ( it's just me overthinking ) :
- I've always wondered why the dragon, besides wanting to tarnish Aelem's will to live, asked to go to Misted Veil. I mean, if he heard that the lighthouse glare was beautiful, he "necessarily" should have heard that the streets were teeming with knights whose sole purpose was to kill Leviathans - in that it's a significant "detail" - right ?  In other words, why would a sheep enter an an enclosure  of wolves if it knows it has a 99.99% chance of being killed? In terms of the balance of benefits and risks, this seems to be unbalanced. This imbalance is further accentuated by the fact that, in order to "live", if I've understood correctly, the dragon only needs Aelem to die from the inside: her body - the shell - must remain intact. And that, on the other hand, it only took a handful of minutes from the time she entered the city for our protagonist to be spotted and chased by a knight. Among the many explanations I tried to come up with, one was that there was something in the capital worth taking such a risk for - something to do with the dragon itself: its name, its identity. Perhaps he too is going through the same process as Aelem or Omen . The question now would be why would it risk coming to the city to search for its name, knowing that if Aelem finds out he won't be able to "live" 🤔 would this hide ulterior motives?
- I can't wait to learn more about the process behind finding the dragon's name and how it helps prevent him from taking control. Idk how to explain it in a proper way but perhaps finding the dragon's name is like giving meaning to something that until now had none: turning something into someone => weaving a certain relationship and more simply cohabiting.

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:10

Feb 18, 2024

The oneiric world is a place where the mind navigates an infinite number of wishes. A warm place where the soul can briefly escape the coldness of reality. A place that only those allowed to dream can hope to embrace.

Notwithstanding this comfortable bed and the safety of the room, Aelem is not allowed to dream - the dragon within her forbids it.

This refusal is embodied first and foremost in the perpetual "psychosomatic" torments it inflicts on her, preventing her from sleeping, from resting, so to speak. I In a second phase, even if she can find sleep, it will only be a facade, as the dragon will constitute the "barrier" preventing her from accessing the world of dreams.

But more than that, I think this passage highlights one of the key points of Aelem's journey: the duality/subtlety between 'being able to do something' and 'being allowed to do something'. While the latter refers more to a notion of passivity, in that the ability is underpinned by some authorization from others, "being able to do something" implies having the means to perform an action.

In fact, this duality has always been present from the beginning of the story, in that most of the actions and feelings our protagonist could do or feel were underpinned by an "authorization". An "authorization" given by herself - nevertheless, she remains " incapable" of doing so for the time being, because she deems that she doesn't have the basis for it (in this case, being a woman), hence the feeling of confusion/uncertainty she experiences. An "authorization" given by the "others", Omen and Leviathan.

However, there are only two things Aelem didn't ask before doing:  "wishing" - because it's her right - and kissing Omen - because it's what she wants.

Here, the notion of "wishing" is to be paralleled with that of "dreaming".

The difference between the two is that a dream/nightmare is a subconscious phenomenon both  influenced by memories, emotions, and external stimulus and beyond the individual's control, whereas a wish expresses a conscious desire/hope - a reflection of personal aspirations and values. A dream occurs in sleep, a wish in reality. The dream inspires action, the wish guides it, like a purpose. Dreams are passive (spectators), wishes are active (actors).

In this nightmare, Aelem and the dragon talk about their purpose (wish). For both of them, the latter is centered on the idea of living: simply living the life of a normal woman, and living by subjugating others to its power, through terror and destruction. A wish that, in order to be realized, on the one hand harms only the one who conceives it, and on the other hand is gorged with the blood of innocents.

In a way, these two purposes are a "dream" to each other - or at least a nightmare - in that they are not a goal that guides their respectives actions, but rather something that influences them. In Aelem's case, Leviathan's "purpose" is what prevents her from being normal, embodying both destruction in the eyes of the world and pain in the depths of her being. In Leviathan's case, Aelem's purpose affects its actions simply because it prevents it from "living. These purposes being mutual dreams, they can't control them, but only try to influence them through their actions: mockery and torment for the dragon, trying to "live normally" for Aelem.

If "life is a rose of which each petal is an illusion and each thorn is a reality" (Alfred de Musset), then the Hyacinthe would be Aelem's utopia - the normal woman - and the dragon's scales would be the harsh reality - the world in which a normal life is not possible for her. Yet, Aelem somehow realizes that this utopia is no longer something unattainable, an illusion which she can only dream about, a consequence of her humanity which she can't control, but something she "can live" or at least try to achieve - a wish.  

And this awareness is marked by "I'm allowed to wish, aren't I" and "I can wish" (a bit like saying, because I'm human I can wish to live, it's in my right).

Then slowly, the hyacinth would become reality and the scales would become a dream, an illusion - faded.  

Kissing the omen symbolizes the difference between a wish - "the aspiration for something to come true" - and a desire - "the longing to possess something". Both mean practically the same thing, the only difference being that desire is translated more on a material level.

Now that Aelem has given herself permission to "wish" to live the life of a normal woman, she can finally begin to collect its material "attributes. But again, this process of collecting is subject to the authorization of others, since she is unable to give it herself at the moment - hence her question to Omen. And that's where it's brilliant again, because Omen doesn't allow her to do it. Instead, he tells her that she can, because it's simply her right as a woman.
 

And so, amidst the chirping of crickets, the howling of owls, and the waving of wildflowers outside her window, her lips on Omen's, she can begin to collect  those precious moments of womanhood she so desires.

If "joy, happiness and the burning heat of love form the trinity that makes us Human" (Jon Kalman Stefansson), then there's no more of a woman than Aelem at this moment.

Side note 1 : About the Hyacinth and the scales, maybe the scales also refer to the one she thinks she is.
Side note 2: to take up the barrier metaphor once again, one of the components of Aelem's journey would be to understand that she doesn't need anyone else's permission to cross it, in that she's capable of doing so.

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The Butterfly Knight and the Leviathan.
Faded Scales of a Hyacinth
Chapter:9