This was a beautiful piece about these two characters that I'm already in love with from the other game! I can't express how much I adored the intimacy and the queerness and the complexity of gender and insecurity. (As a queer, nonbinary, transgender person, there was much I really fell in love with just seeing those identities represented so warmly on the page.) As someone who is mentally ill, I really also appreciated seeing Lev's cocktail of meds with their names preserved because, in a way, those names are already kind of fantastical but also very, very real. Just this whole piece felt so real, and these characters were so flawed and compelling, and something I also adored was the dialogue and the affection and personality with which they spoke to one another, Lev's nervousness present in the way that they used their words and their pauses, and then Anzu's drawling kind of sweetness with his use of "darling." I just loved this piece quite a bit, and I hope to see more of them!
dripping with the waters of SHEOL
A ghost of a peculiar origin stalks the corridor of your flat. Maybe you should go talk to it? A story about gay love and how all things hidden become evident, featuring a bigender protagonist and their trans boyfriend.
Written for ECTOCOMP 2017. Words and code by Lady Isak Grozny.
Playtested by Jackie Maxwell, Adrien Darling, Seraphina Melakh, Verity V. Lee, Xian Xian, Remi Fortuzzi and some others whose names I'll get ASAP.
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I absolutely loved this?? I know I said this about the other one but-- Obviously this was more difficult to read because of the heavy topics discussed, but the love between the two protagonists was just so strong and refreshing and you could feel it in every sentence. Thank you so much for writing this <3 (Note: There was a confusing moment for me? I didn't get the ghost's name when it first appeared but then the protagonist knew it anyway the second time. Idk if that was intended or not.)
There are a lot of things I liked! In particular I enjoyed the detail with the acne scar - it shows an ordinarily vain person not hiding their flaws, and is really poignantly vulnerable. The interpretation of ghosts was also really interesting, no spoilers but I really want to read more stories with similar interpretations.
I also noticed that Lev was expected to keep praising Anzu and catering to his feelings and propping him up despite being triggered by his thoughtless actions and later lied to. It’s refreshing (and creepy!) to read a story with the more common, creeping form of relationship toxicity and abuse instead of the more obvious physical kind.
I mean, I certainly didn't intend for Anzu to be abusive, so I'm curious how you came to that interpretation, bc I'd potentially want to fix that in a post-comp release.
Now like, personally, I viewed Lev letting Anzu's mistake slide and then still comforting him as Lev making a choice to not let their PTSD get in the way of showing love and affection to their boyfriend, not letting a momentary involuntary reaction dictate their view of Anzu. Sure, Anzu did fuck up, but it was an honest mistake that he didn't try to deny or excuse and I feel like Lev forgiving him was more like, Lev choosing to exercise agency over their PTSD, deciding that Anzu's love outweighs a mistake like that.
I do think it was far more about Lev trying to deal with PTSD and unwanted reactions to innocent gestures than about Lev feeling like they needed to cater to Anzu's feelings. I mean, certainly Lev feels responsible for comforting Anzu, but it's mutual and only to be expected in a loving relationship, I feel.
I also disagree that Anzu lied, because while he did keep a certain thing secret, it wasn't out of malice but due to fear and confusion.