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The Wanderer's Guide to Somewhere (CLOSED)

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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

The Wanderer's Guide to Somewhere (CLOSED)

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:42 am

OOC : PLEASE DO NOT POST unless you are the OP or have been invited to post on the thread.

The Wanderer's Guide to Somewhere
A Megaseries

Welcome to compilations thread of The Wanderer's Guide to Somewhere megaseries, brought to you by Royal Kingdom of Quebec.
For next few months to a year, this thread will be used to host several series about the life of a certain journalist, whose adventure and stories will bring him to various parts of his twenty-two to twenty-six years of life, as well as various parts of the NS Sports Multiverse from the Quebecois Commonwealth to wherever else he goes and of course, you. His journey is also going to be accompanied with a love story, where the past returns to him like a magic and he has to capture the feeling back to him.

For this megaseries, I expect to run them in few dozen parts, with them divided into various series within a megaseries. Given my commitment to various sports and their competitions, the parts will be scattered across various competitions, which should span from World Baseball Classic, World Bowl, World Cup of Hockey, possibly the NationStates World Cup and the NationStates World Cup. Therefore, I will be posting each part or sub-part to the respective competition's RP thread and here at the same time, to help the reader absorb the material without having to deal with going through various competitions. You will also find the series catalogue in the factbook (WIP), in order to provide a quick, reference guide as needed.

And that's it for now! Many thanks in advance for reading this. If you have questions and/or suggestions, feel free to send me a TG or contact me via Discord and I'll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.




Completed or Continuing Series
  • SEASON 1 : Childhood, Traces - COMPLETED
  • SEASON 2 : Auld Lang Syne - COMPLETED
  • SEASON 3 : Running Up That Hill - One more episode left
  • SEASON 4 : Once Upon A Time in Quebec (runs simultaneously as Montreal Sketches)

Future Series
To be announced....
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Sat Jan 23, 2021 7:54 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:29 am

Childhood, Traces
PART 1 - Les Bottes Rouges
Tournament : World Bowl XXXIX


‘So, where do we start this, Michael? This is my first time trying this, and I’d rather narrate it out than to help you write it.’

‘Well, it’s straightforward, Asher. Don’t be nervous. This is not your first time narrating the stories of your life and won’t be the last time either.’

‘Alright then. How many parts do you think we’ll have to work on?’

‘It’s up to you. Don’t feel so stressed out. Think of this as a good way for you, a man just one year removed from college, to reflect upon yourself. Someday, you can use this opportunity to possibly tell your kids the story of your earlier life and whatnot.’

'Alright, here we go again....'

-----


If I have to be honest, I prefer to orient my childhood memories to that of snapshots and episodes. It’s simply out of choice and reality that we all grasp with information, some of which we fondly remember of, and others we don’t. That’s just how life works sometimes. Right now, for instance, I am lying over a grassy field, somewhere in middle of the Cape Breton Island while my father, a man of the different era of upbringing, strolls with my mother. Somewhere down the beaches, my brother, wearing an orange and black tee-shirt, is wetting his water by the Ocean. As I look into the ocean, I keep thinking the Korean word ‘Nangman, which has entirely different nuance to its English equivalent ‘romance’, as thicker pronunciation of the Korean word evolves into something found more in an elderly baritone from an opera I had to watch months earlier. The waters are clear, the sky is all pale blue, and needless to say, it’s warm in the winter.

The place is, of course, Cape Breton, on the Atlantic. The pair of sunglasses I covered my eyes with, which looked too circular to be understood as a pair of sunglasses for an eight year old, is a gift which my auntie Maraika, a longtime friend of my other, gave me when we came home for August. I remember keeping it as if it was my lifelong treasure until I had outgrown myself, by which it held a place in my cabinet once I returned to Quebec.

Anyways, there wasn’t much I remember from rest of the trip, though there was one occasion. On the way back, at a restaurant, my family just happened to meet another Quebecois family on the other side of the resto, who arrived shortly after us. So we did drop by, greet each other, talk to them for a bit, and after going back to our table, snuck our food away on containers that mum got out of our car.

The year was 2028. I was eight. The nation was going through some periods of change and it was in some ways the best to avoid meeting your compatriots too often on the other side of the realm. The homeland was still reminded by my homeroom teacher, a fair bit- certain Mssr. Brassard, would write me specific instructions in Medieval Korean that showed how the tonal signs- from Ah to Oh- would be deciphered. The certain joly-good-fella Mssr. Brassard would try his best, for an hour after Monday's classes had ended, to amuse me by playing word games with me and a couple of my childhood friends, Kiera and Man-Soon, whom we naturally knew each other from nursery school due to our parents’ employment. ‘Someday, it’ll all make sense’ after we get them right but without understanding it.

Those lessons had lasted two years before I had to return to Quebec. Of course, those lessons would eventually come back to me later when I, while waiting in line at a Metro platform in Quebec City, was asked for a light by an old man. The old man, with the paler renditions of very same moustache me and my friends remembered, was the same ole self. The next moment we recognised each other, and we had lunch two days after.

He was doing well, nowadays working as a private school teacher somewhere in the suburbs, but that I believe is not what I’m trying to get to you, my dear reader, at. What I was more pleased about was rather on how a daring teacher and an unassuming student would first meet, all on purpose and awareness, but would both be back in Quebec and meet outta nowhere. Outta the blue, as people would say.

So I’d say that perhaps, it’s more about how everything, though unexplained, would eventually come back to you as if magical pollens had come to inseminate the flowers of what we had anticipated, but may have forgotten about. And I hope that should help start this series of recollections out and whatnot, as I narrative a couple of stories of my life to you...
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:31 am

Childhood, Traces
PART 2 - Bonzo's Montreux
Tournament : International Baseball Slam XI


Anyways, the heightened tensions taken by the Quebecois Government back home was accompanied by governmental changes under the order of dismissal by late Jacques IX. Undaunted by all the complicated circumstances, my parents, with me and my brother Connor, returned to Quebec City after five years of appointments in the Interrealm Consulate in Montreal. This was June 2029. The party matters required my father to move to Kingston, a city he was somewhat familiar with. The Parti Justice du Quebec, having been crushed in a horrible electoral defeat the previous November after the dismissal of the Prime Minister under charges of immorality, asked that he, the President of Universite St. Croix’s Labour Party Chapter, run as their party candidate for the fall’s byelection.

It was around that time, as we moved to the Southwestern centre, where he noticed that our Korean wasn’t at the level expected. So he decided that a family friend should come to take us to lessons and baseball matches as well. As I gently ring the bell that lies over me on my room, I am once again brought back to the nine year old self that I was, standing as I shake hand with the certain Mr. Kim. Eugene Jin-Sung Kim was an interesting man, with thick circular glasses, long black locks and oddly matched cardigans which clearly drew weird impressions upon my parents.

I remember on our first day, he brought a bunch of sports articles with a different topic planted on each and every one of them- one was about the Blue Jays’ struggles, the second one Kingston Knights’ victories, and the last one something about college football that I wasn’t so familiar about, way back when. Growing up, his maternal grandfather (only grandparent he recognised as his own) knew my late maternal grandmother (bless her soul) as the old gentleman was a loyal customer to her tiny restaurant.

A wild spirit of logician and debater, he kept his clothes loose enough to draw our (more more my brother’s than mine, mind you) approvals and also formal enough to draw my parents’ approval. He was a man careful enough not to provoke without purpose, but knew enough in a way to challenge his students, to think differently and more realistically, if that would be a right way to put forth. In some ways, he was still very much a prep school debater that he once were just a decade ago, though that I’d attribute rather to the man being in a phase of perennial give-ups on relationship commitments.

A natural c-lettered conservative in heart, he would inform on our high school and Blue Jays baseball trips and talk about the very habits and the theories, and how sometimes, it’s not always about being on one side, but rather on what would work and what would not, under circumstances we’d find ourselves into. Sometimes, he’d have us analyse cricket scoreboards for pleasure - dunno why but he was into Plough Islander national cricket team - and ask what would make it work. Not to mention, countless analyses of Akahkov, Plokhii, Razuminsky and Novotny, which I’ve come to appreciate much more later in life.

So the lessons went for about six years, before life got busier for both sides as he got married and went back to graduate school, while I started playing baseball and ran cross country at the very high school fields of Erskine I grew up watching the team practice. Certain Dr. Kim, now convocated, is now teaching at a small town college I later visited on the East Coast. He’s now married and with three children- last I heard his eldest son was an ace pitcher in Bugil Academy, a famous prep school with their orange baseball jerseys and Ottawa Eagles alumni, so I guess they aren’t doing so badly.

To him, I owe the way to look and analyse everything, something that I always held inside my head but needed to be consolidated beyond just the ideas, which runs well into the particularly challenging way the decade had ended. When, in June 2028, His Majesty had dissolved the Parliament on the immoral grounds of the Prime Minister’s conduct in the scandals that he were involved in, the nation was bound for some major changes to their ways. Father, being one of most prominent diplomats coming from the PJQ section of the ministry, decided to resign from Foreign Office and head into the party’s sinking fortunes. From what I remembered, father spent the entire summer and fall campaigning, usually nonstop, on his office and on the trail. My mother, still the same usual self, has the pictures from those times on an album back home, but for that, it's another story, dear reader.

---


The old and the new, the openness and the closure, the wild and the urban were mysteriously brought together at the very turn between the second and third decades of our century. Sometime during that summer of 2029, my family of four would sometimes walk our new neighbourhood before father, sometimes, would be greeted by a bunch of strangers asking him policy-related questions. Quickly my father would fix his glasses, excuse himself to mum and us, and then proceed to provide concise answers as expected.

Of course, I do not exactly remember them- what point is there for me to remember such lines at an age of nine? - but still, it was evident enough that in such an air of enthusiasm, the buzz seemed to be found profoundly in the air about the chances. It probably had something to do with how the city of Kingston, in its complicated history of being a city of swing ridings, or something more about how a political newbie, whose years of diplomatic ranks had trained him for dealing with ooh’s and ah’s and how to deal with them, was generating enough interests. Once, as always expected, the question was answered, there would once again be some kind of a buzz that hits the questioner. Whether it be disappointment, degoutant, or just rabid endorsement was up in the air, and then life would go along as expected for us for yet another half hour (before the chain were to repeat itself outside).

Of course, that election season was a busy time for him, so we’d sometimes see him for half a day, if not the entire day, at times. So a lot of the times, my maman, who had her own culinary business, would be the one more or less looking after my brother and I. She had to make sure we weren’t going late to schools and still did our homework, but hey, it’s not easy since all four of us were occupied everywhere at all times. Still, there would exist surprising apparitions- sometimes brother and I would be watching old television shows from the Other Side of the Interrealm Portal that my parents watched when we were little - Reply Series reruns, One Night, Two Days; etc, etc - and we would just critique and walk around. Usually I’d be having a book, something about trivial facts or random fields of personal interest, with me, while my brother, being more active of the two back then, would run around the apartment a bit more. Then, all of sudden, the lights would all get turned off. I would turn to the left and boom, see my father pop outta nowhere in a matter of levitation, with papa in old jackets and jeans waving at them, as he turned on the light.

And then, like the usual, he'd join us and we'd return to our old selves watching television and doing random shit on top of it.
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:37 pm

Childhood, Traces
PART 3 - Fake Empire
Tournament : World Bowl XXIX


‘Alright, so it seems like we’re heading to a bit more intimate and I guess, historical, of origins. Asher, how are you feeling about it?’

‘Well, it’s the same ole. People ask about that all the time, but you know, you get used to it. Have you ever travelled abroad and people ask this, that and whatnot because you happen to know someone or probably had an ancestor somewhere around there?’

‘Sure. I’ve had that once or twice. For all the different reasons though, and I’m sure you know well about the troubles my dad gets into every other week.’

‘But all’s good though right? No troubles and shit?’

‘Well, it doesn’t change from the fact that you’re a homie, and my homie as well.’

‘Indeed not.’

‘So do you really want me to address all this on a fairly long record right now.’

‘Sure, if you can. Of course, take breaks here and there as you need it.’

‘Alright.’



So, the thing about Quebecois peerage is that more often than not, they do involve either or both of those native to the land, or mysterious arrivals who had arrived in the country in the nation’s first three centuries. So, it is only fitting that the Lundrigan crest, blue and white in a cross pattern, is centred by a solitary mast, to indicate just one of few hundred origin stories (some families do claim multiple, so the numbers aren’t as large as you’d think).

According to my late grandfather Andreas Alexander Lundrigan, a certain 8th Baron of Bron-Yr-Aur known for his businesses and indulgences, the certain founder of our family was a man named Michael Lundrigan, a certain Welshman who came to what was then known under the full name Royal Kingdom of Quebec and Shingoryeo. How he had ended up in the Mainland Quebec in the 1510s, when most of English fishing and colonising fleets had only begun arriving in Acadie, Newfoundland and Sealtainn Eireann in 1540s, remains a mystery. It is something that neither myself nor my own cousins were able to hold much information about, though by the 1600s government documents safely stored at Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec indicates that 3 of 5 Lundrigan children, named Michael, Connor and Thomas of Bron-y-Aur, Anticosti Island, had ended up in the Royal Quebecois Navy.

For about two to three centuries, the Lundrigans were naval officers and public servants who either served in the military or stayed home in their plot. There are some examples here and there, though I’m going to keep to three for here- my great-great-grandmother, Lady Edith Hextall Lundrigan (1881-1967), the Baroness Bron-Yr-Aur, was the first woman to be elected to the Parliament in 1917 elections. The achievement, something that we partly remember in textbooks and also on social media feeds as ‘Quebec Remembers’ short programs we recall watching when little. She, who married Lord John, the 8th Baron, became a widow at an early age when Lord John passed from typhus four years earlier. This unfortunate set of circumstances, ironically enough, caused the provincial reserved scholar and the legendary politician’s only child to become a baro at age 10. The certain son, Simeon John Lundrigan (1907-1988), was known to history students as one of the air force heroes during the Westlands front of the Southern Rushmori War and, in his old age, the Labour Party Lord that his father had strayed from, almost as if the fate were to bring the family back to the chain of service and servitude. He lived a boring life and married a Petrogradian emigre with certain ‘francais elegant’, whom he had acquainted during the War, and after the war, had lived a quiet four decades in peace.

Still, the finest was probably someone I still recall somewhat well. My late grandfather, Andreas Alexander Lundrigan, was probably best remembered for being one of the admirals from the certain Felix Liberation War of 2008-2010 against the Nazis. He was a man with not-so-exemplary abilities, though his ability to consolidate the forces and the personnel, proved to become particularly crucial as he climbed up the ladders. ‘Well he wasn’t the most competent,’ said Dr. Everett Sanipass, a renowned historian who I was privileged to listen to his lecture many months ago, ‘But he was still a key part in bringing together the Felixian rebels, who needed training and discipline, with their Quebecois instructors and comrades. In a situation where international military presence complicates the narrative, he did his best to bring together the solidarity.’ The certain sociable nature of his as a classical, Quebecois gentleman, I recall, a sense of the times and ‘the class’ we take for granted, but really need to appreciate.

With things in life, a lot of the times we have to think about when is the right time to walk away from it all, and that’s usually the hardest part. Upon retirement, the Parti Quebecois (Centrists by political scale in general, non-American, terms, but due to complicated political situations here, they are probably the furthest right you can get for a major party) leader and Prime Minister Isabelle Perreault offered him to return for to his hereditary House of Lords seat or receive the Knight honour of the Royal Moogoonghwa Order. Frankly, the RMO was slightly over-issued, especially for officers, for this war, but grandpapa was frankly happy to take it (‘everybody knew he was giving up the Lords seat for his children’s political ambition,’ notes certain auntie Jennifer).

After that, he spent his time back in his childhood home on the Island, playing cricket and working on making sure there would be enough humanly scent and the warmth found in the house. Unfortunately, I, having spent the first six of ten years of my life on the other side of the PORTAL, do not recall much of him. There were some fun stories here and there at times, but those, dear reader, I’ll leave it for future when I’ll be able to at least come back to something.

By the time I had come back, he was in his last months of his life after years of . As father’s election campaign was underway and he would eventually find himself in the Parliament, it was mostly my maman who flew back and forth between Kingston and Anticosti Island, and would bring to her father-in-law naval and childhood objects to fill up the Naval career. Then the next thing, around the eleventh year of my life, was my family all flying to the Island- on March 11, 2031, he peacefully went back to the homesoil of the place he had long desired to come back during his time away.

Passing at age eighty, Lord Andreas left three sons and two daughters. The eldest was Anthony, who inherited the Lundrigan barony as he had been waiting for two decades prior; he married a baroness’ third daughter, a Catholic he met while studying at Universite du Saguenay, and sometimes drops by the capital to serve at the House of Lords. Next came uncle Brock, longtime fencing coach, who I will be talking about in a few minutes and of course, the youngest, my father. The aunties were Jennifer, who married certain Hans Sorensen in Nyhavn, Norrehavn; and Rachael, who resides on the other side of the Island. Among them many stories were shared and told, but probably the best one to talk about will be that of my second uncle, Brock Andreas.
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Thu Jul 09, 2020 11:26 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:59 pm

Childhood, Traces
PART 4 - Anna Sun
Tournament: World Bowl XXXIX


When it comes to understanding uncle Brock and how my parents met, there is the other, Vdaran side of the family.

The Chania house crest is a much more simplified version of the Vdaran Coat of Arms, though if you understand the origins of the contemporary nation-building practices, there lies only little surprise. The pale bird sitting on the tree within the blue background there is still there, certainly fitting to the maritime heritage of the country with booming tourism, Mantinades poetry and whatnot. Still, it's important to note that the Chanians, while royal in origin, are not as closely related or associated to Her Majesty as many of the royal observers seem to think, and I myself do not enjoy the connections either. The Vdaran maternal ancestors of mine were fairly new to the throne, having been in power from 1945, in their small kingdom located midway between Llamaland, Hinodejin Empire and Lisander, and Filindostan. Father’s been there a few times too, per the obligations of the Royal House of Chania, via an Aeroquebec flight, and so I have my family when I was little. Unfortunately, such memories are few and wide, especially as I grew older and visits happened every blue moon. It’s not so much on my unwillingness, but rather that I usually had commitments that made such visits unrealised for a solid decade.

Rather, I share more fond memories of summers spent in cottage villages abroad. Diagrammatically, hundreds of cottages circle around dozens of lakes on the Lake District, northeast of Baker Park, which may be represented as the childhood fragments of endless Bakerians and Atlantian Oceanians, as did a couple of those I recall within those hundreds. Dozens on the northwestern side of Red Deer Lake, about two hours northeast of Endborough, stood particular Quebecois cottage villages, where Quebecois and the other families of Commonwealth origins rented or owned cottages during during summers, with Quebecois-owned cottages on northern end, the Rushmori-Commonwealthers on the middle, and the Banijans, Tamazghans and Acadianans on the very northern tip, with the villages lacking borders and pretty much linked with stores, piers and few other amenities they were to share along the lakeshore.

Among them, I recall two particular features: the Village-des-Pins station situated halfway between the Quebecois and the Rushmori-Commonwealther villages, which was about ten minutes walk away from my familial cottage, and the mile-long Gwangmoo Pier that distinguished the feature; I was there to watch the sunsets quite often, if my memory serves me correctly.

Anyways, the cottage home of Limassol Cottage, formerly named enters history when King Stelios I, the founding monarch of independent Vdara, bought a particular property. Of course, there are various theories to why he would pick a cottage property on the other side of the Multiverse, but that is not the issue. While the monarch himself did not frequent the property, mostly due to the domestic matters every founding monarch had to tend to, his daughter, late Queen Acacia of Vdara, spent occasional summers in the region, spent time socialising with the Quebecois elite, and had taken enough memories of the Bakerian summers back to Vdara.

My mother, Athena de Chania (1995-), is the daughter of Stelios II the Elderly (1971-), the third king of Vdara, and Helena of Nicosia (1969-), daughter of a certain Nicosian duke who died half a century ago. Of her siblings, she had one older, Princess Alexia (1993-), and one younger, Prince Michael, siblings. And it is from that certain auntie who binds the story the first time.
If the legends tell me correctly, there was a baseball match that took place in Jubillee Park, in honour of Her Royal Highness, sometime between 1 and 5 in the afternoon.

Two people, who had their closest chances, had aimed to win over her and so went forth with it. I can frankly imagine the excitement of a couple dozen men, led by two pesky gentlemen-to-be, in the very grassy fields of the Jubilee Park. I can even smell the soil of the dust that blew upon a run and the grass covered by morning dew that somehow outstayed its time of survival above the leaves. And of course, the smell of summer sweat that came out of the young, youthful selves bidding to win over a heart! For one there was no winner, the match having ended at 15 a 2-2 tie game.

It is at this diamond where my mother befriended two elder siblings of the man she was eventually going to marry. Auntie Rachel, for much of her twenties and thirties, went into investigative journalism and, in the last engagements of her former career in Quebec City, played few crucial groundsetting roles in The Tageukgi’s coverage of a treason plot that would eventually culminate into execution or below-ground detention of 3,864 in year 2036.

Her five decades of life, aside from occasional adventures, hasn’t been particularly eventful, though she did have a couple of lucky instances involving chance from her twenties. Once, on the middle of the first Caraqueno Civil War (OOC: WC70-74 would be the rough timeframe), her train ticket from Caracas Metropolitan Station was nullified because she woke up late- she woke up at 9:00 a.m. for a 7:45 a.m. train- so she ended up staying an extra day before heading home, and walked away safe as the train heading to St-Armand entered into the inferno. That story of her own virtue of luck, best described in ancient idiom (塞翁之馬), was of course just one of hundreds she told us and on media, but in this I will restrain myself from unnecessary recantations.

Anyways, due to her job, she had moved fairly regularly and would disappear for months if not a year at times with little options to contact him. Stil, my family did try to see her, and her vice versa to us, whenever possible. Her return to the old cottage was something that she had clearly thought of in mind, though not in the old Lundrigan cottage, but rather the Limassol Cottage just few kilometres away. Of course, by that point, she had long been used to questioning from the Vdaran authorities about her involvement and whatnot in such minefields that would normally cause such bureaucrats and intelligence officers to flip over. Such was the way and I would get it used to it, was what she said and to this day, I appreciate her words for it. The older you get, the more you notice about how sometimes it's not easy being known with a possible target on your back.
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:47 am

Childhood, Traces
PART 5 - Water Under the Bridge
Tournament : World Bowl XXIX


Sometimes I ask people: If there's this Golden Goblet, where you are promised to life of peace and continued flow of gold before your eyes, but you may have to lose all those around you, would you? That was something that Brock Andreas Lundrigan used to ask me or my cousin, whenever we had a particularly unanswerable or challenging question. It is in this that I would like to go into a brief look into a decade and half of my second uncle's life.

As his nephew, Uncle Brock came to me in a manner of an odd, usual man who just happened to be pretty good at not disappointing people. While fairly well-travelled, Uncle Brock seemed to have cruised easily too. His coaching career, which had started and ended at his alma mater, the simplest kind where he won 8 national titles and brought about a dozen to the national team in his twenty seven years in charge (2008-35), without any scandal.

But just putting him as an average championship coach is something that doesn't necessarily agree upon. He still prided himself, on being able to find the oddities and くせ that he would find in remarkable regularities in himself when he could have lost that touch long beforehand. This had likely come from a habit that originated back in his youth days when he was a pupil and then assistant of late William Yi (1956-2037), 12th Earl of Bathurst, fencing coach and late-imperial Petrogradian literature lecturer for 38 years, he was used to being mentioned alongside patronymics Brock Andreasovich, and he had used to say variations of that in the public.

Always oddly dressed, he came to places in the most dispatched of manners, whether it be occasional trotting with travelling bards that frequent the Quebecois short-distance trains or his love of baking edibles to his children and nephews, something that his wife, a legendary runner in their small city of Cornwall, Frontenac province, little understands (for good reasons) to this day.

Brock Andreas was also involved in various risky positions, which he fortunately had far less stakes to deal with than the globetrotting auntie ever did. Because of that, Brock Andreas it wasn’t so much over whether he wanted to make a career out of risking his prospects or even himself, but rather done out of instinct and occasional whoopsie daisies. Combine that with his element as a hotheaded man who had gotten into more troubles than you’d imagine, he ended up often being on odds with the RQFF and of course the athletics administration (even under former AD Sir. Philippe Ahn, which was quite bizarre in my views), but that's something no one's to be surprised over, as I tell you the his story.

----


In 1996, in what was a fairly unusual move for children of Kingston Collegiate School (where he went on a fencing scholarship from year seven, straight outta the island), the second of Lundrigan boys went from the big city to a small town. It was arranged that Brock Lundrigan, the first of many Greater Kingston Area (GKA) junior national team members on ‘exodus’, would go to Queen’s College, on a generous athletic scholarship that Your Grace awarded out of his wage as head coach rather than lecturer salary. The family continued to stay in the Island while the younger siblings continued to attend Sandringham School. Since living expenses were covered with the scholarship, uncle Brock ended up saving whatever little money his mother sent for stipend into his savings account.

He left Kingston for what he thought would be a short journey to become an engineer; but the life had caused his ways to turn around and eventually end up elsewhere on the growing pains of a squad under revival. In his freshman year, after four stellar tournaments, braving through the unsuspecting eyes, he broke the odds and ended up the anchor (OOC: the ace position on team events) position of the Men’s Epee depth chart: he had a series of stomach cramps the night before, and placed 31st on the individual event of 1997 QIS Championships.

His sophomore season, the year he chose mechanical engineering, was a disappointment too. At the beginning there was a major momentum, as it had appeared likely that the Golden Gaels were to win their first ever national fencing championship, but that's not how it turned out as they ended with a third place finish. But at least he learned to overcome his fear against fellow junior national teammates on the elimination stage and by then, his eyes were glimmering with the prospects of the national championship banner. Pictures of St. Croix’s 9 championship victories, 5 on men and 4 on women's side, on Coach Yi’s office both intimidated and empowered many to the spirit that I was ingrained to back in my baseball player days.

Fortunately he had to wait only a year longer - exactly a year later, Brock Andreasovich was celebrating, confetti to confetti, at the national championships with his first of many national banners, the first of six the good guys would win under Your Grace between that 1999 win to 2004 double that has not been done in Cornwall.

Of course, it was something that Coach Yi had been there before- his ‘first’ of twenty-one national championships in three schools began on a late Sunday, February of 1988, when, as interim head coach, he won the first of eight banners to begin a dynasty for the perennial Quebec City powerhouse (which, eventually, were to end with his return to alma mater). But still, the thrill to win at alma mater was enough for the Bathurst native to land famous words that eventually became that of Sir. Joel-Lynn McCarthy, the legendary sabreur and team captain who became a famous actor.

A rebel is always going to swish and dazzle through the brightest stages,
But he will always find his way back home by the virtue of God, and only the God.


And to be frank, those days seemed to have enamoured my uncle, a rural nobleman’s second son, with a particular fire. The timely ascension of the championship victory, and the continued arrival of junior national team athletes (which had already begun with my longtime senior at Erskine Collegiate, Christopher Tsu-Ahn), seemed to have brought everybody a cause for celebration. There once was a well-celebrated banquet between the athletics and the fencing teams presided by Your Grace, which was joined by his college friend, a(n) (in-)famous cross country coach Ike Vonnegut whom Dr. Yi, practically untouchable by the administration due to his hereditary ranks, insisted on asking when Vonnegut, who had fallen short in previous three years, is finally going to bring a banner. The XC coach, who was annoyed enough at his college friend for teasing him on his prolonged process to undermine the evil athletics empire (OOC: or track and field, in North American terms) Gyeongbuk A&M had built upon tyrannical Stu Conroy-Harris, neatly countered by Vonnegut inquiring how the dirt of Fort Byron seem to only harden after rain and all the hard words said at how battered they were.

Of course, such remarks were remembered nowadays, as part of the folklore of the few (out of four dozens who were there), but the truths were indeed spoken and it is there where uncle Brock, a happy camper, were to eventually fall into a storm that were to brew out of the other team that were there on the banquet.

A recent interview to Sir. Philippe Ahn (1956-), the institution's legendary A.D. also known for his coaching rivalry with Your Grace, has revealed that the situation indeed reflects into the reality of the times. He, trying to find ways to beat his college friend (it is famously known that Vonnegut, Yi and Ahn were housemates and lifelong friends all the way back to their freshman days) while leading the charge at Universite de Gaspe, was certainly not there but he did explain, perhaps, a minor context that added the third person's view to the matter at the time:

'....you see, Asher. It does reflect well with how the things were back then. There once was a time when selected few sports, for example football, basketball and whatnot, were particularly valued by the administrations in past. Of course, that makes sense if you think about how Queen's College, located in Cornwall of all places, can only do so much by focusing on few teams that can win! But that did cause decades of disparity among Gaels teams, between the haves and have-nots.

'And it was something that the Duke of Bathurst (William Yi), myself and of course, Ike Vonnegut had to deal with. It was year 1974 when we, floormates and all looking for something big, became friends at Evers Hall residence. Unfortunately, we happened to pick wrong sports back then and well, got underappreciated because of that. Still, we had high hopes and perhaps looked to come back someday because why not? Big men dream big, as you know.

'So all three of us went different ways for something good- William went to Quebec City where he finished grad school at St. Croix, coached at Saguenay for a bit and then USC again, before he went home. Because he was a nobleman, the preppiest of us three, he had an implied sense of indismissable clause on his tenures, and really was able to come back when he wanted to. He just embraced that and went along with whatever he advocated for, whether it's funnelling his own cash to the team or keep flying them to Commonwealth tournaments, et cetera. He was a lucky bastard of a friend to have, now that I look at it.

'Then there was Ike. He went to Kingston to do a MA in psychology before heading back to Cornwall where he wrapped up a successful running career, created a local club and started coaching the distance running program at alma mater. When he came back, he proved to the world that he too was a magician, in that he did so much with next to no resource available- not even a single fieldhouse was given to them or even considered during my predecessor's time- and it did enough to eventually dethrone the Evil Empire of a pedophile.

'Unfortunately, while he was right...he was also bit too honest with the words and that tongue of his, which we all loved for how honest and far-sighting it was, did earn him a particular infamy upon the athletics administration. It did make sense, for all those who knew him....Being the dissident among us three even back then he, of course, stayed that way, ploughing through many challenges for women's distance running and equality, which I'm sure your auntie Brianne has told you about. But, perhaps because he probably disturbed too many nod-shakers, his teams were always left behind on events and seldom appreciated for achievements, even though the women went top 5 for seven straight years and men top ten for six straight. For what they couldn't do on William because he was the future Duke of Bathurst, they showed enough on his friend.

'And finally, 'tis was me. I stayed two more years for teacher's college, got married to my girlfriend Lise halfway through, and then coached at Ashcroft College and University of Ottawa before Gaspe. To be honest, I wanted to come back, but because my parents were ill, I knew I wanted to coach while tending for them. So things got delayed and I ended up spending another decade spending time with them, before they were greeted by the Lord. I had accepted the dream position thereafter in 2008. Unfortunately, neither William nor Ike were no longer there and I'm sure I can explain a bit more on that...'


-----


You probably figured out from that piece alone that things did not go the way imagined for either anybody. I mean, of course, uncle Brock’s story would not have been a story if all things went happily ever after, which in this case, would have meant that he stayed there, won a couple of Commonwealth Golds as coach, and been living there ever since.

Of course, that’s not how it eventually turned out and that’s why we have a story here.

Anyways, during his senior season everything has changed. Now, with an expectation to defend the crown, there wasn't as much thrill, not to mention no celebratory speeches, and even victories have become part of the norm. In a team where they had already lost significant depth, it proved impossible to come up not disappointed in that they were going to not win the men’s banner that year. After several underwhelming months in an eventual third-place finish that February 2000, at Royal Arlenia Pavilion, Quebec City; my uncle retired from fencing for a coaching career while his eclipsing replacement, greatest Quebecois epeeist in this century by the name of Felix Ahn, spent the last months of his high school career in once again, Erskine.

But before he was to accept the assistant coach offer by Your Grace, another warfront had emerged and he had to make tough choices. His dillemma over the next destination, a particular headcase for my grandparents, was complicated by an unexpected factor. Uncle Brock had three relationships over undergrad, Alexanne Rogers, Yi Se-Ryeong, and Brianne Kenna. Brianne, the second of three children of a professor whom my friends have taken classes with, also happens to be my aunt.

Aunt Brianne (1981-), the two-time QIS cross country champion and gold medalist on 2006 Quebecois Commonwealth Games held in Maracaibo, Nuevo Caracas, was a woman who embodied quirkiness, honesty and of course, not letting the prejudices get away with the world around her with a nod or two. That had of course meant in those days that her, a second auntie (her sister), and a lot of those who raced under Coach Vonnegut on club and/or college level, were very often going to be unfairly criticised and of course, underestimated by the eminense grise of Quebecois athletics who, in every way possible, attempted to play favourites.

Anyways, how they met was very straightforward. Automatically ending up as the academic face of the athletics program during his time there, Dr. Yi was also the freshmen mentorship program coordinator where the seniors, coming from various athletics teams, were to mentor the freshmen on academics. A mild jokester, he often had a habit of place certain student-athletes he had known for many purposes on certain groups, and decided to do the same when he thought it would be a funny joke to have his team captain mentor with none other than the longtime student and star recruit of his friend, Ike Vonnegut.

So by the virtue of coinkydink, Brock Andreasovich, a senior who had just broken out of a relationship that grandparents had long disapproved for a morals-related, was placed to mentor over Brianne. Uncle used to tell me how he was partly scared when he found out about the arrangement, not because he didn't like her or anything, but because he was nervous mentoring a two-time Commonwealth juniors champion, a youth national team member, and not to mention a student of Coach Ike. But after some persuasion by a couple of teammates he did not quit, and eventually hearts smittened by that November, as Brianne led the women's team to a first XC title in history. There Brock Andreasovich, who took a weekend off to watch his mentee win it all in Sept-Iles (12 hrs away by train), had to realise why he had wasted 200Q£ of trainfare and tourist attraction, and that he had to face the moment of truth to all as well.

As for the rest, it's not as clear. There exists various renditions as to how got together, but three different accounts seemed to agree that he skipped the team practice as waltz happened in his living room on a late November evening, and that by the very next day's practice, Coach Yi didn't bother to ask why he had skipped. He just sang along his favourite song and walked away.

Unfortunately, what Coach Yi did not take into account on what was going to happen, as the year 2000 crushed lots of hopes and happiness for the poor uncle of mine. Obviously the team failed to win the nationals, which was a huge downer, but that wasn't even close for him. If anything, it partly came at the price of being with someone he unexpectedly fell in love with. Since the dead man cannot talk, I will once again bring back Sir. Philippe Ahn, dear reader:

'So yes. That Gyeongbuk A&M XC dynasty did crumble and eventually collapsed by the mid-2000s. But how it happened wasn't simply by the virtue of California, Abitibi and USC successfully overcoming them on men's, or briefly Queen's College and not to mention USC, Goose Bay, UPRI on women's teams. Also Kingston on both sides of course. That would be justifiable, but simply not fitting.

'I'm sure we all know that the certain Gyeongbuk A&M State coach, whose name I refuse to say out of my oral health, was a convicted pedophile who eventually spent his last decades in Gotham. But before that, we have to remember two things:

- a) on how the Quebecois Athletics Federation and the Gyeongbuk A&M University were just quietly placing the complaint files of abuses and medical misdiagnosis under the folder, that as long as the Aggies were winning banners in 10s and 20s
- b) on how we just let people of the community, however well-intentioned they may have been at the beginning, eventually got drunk with success and gave the man a full set of keys that he shouldn't have received to start with

This was the sort of injustices Coach Vonnegut had to deal with, losing for years against that scum. Of course, he finally beat him in fall 1999, and that was probably the most needed victory for those awaited the Evil Empire to be prevented for once and hopefully more times. And then the conviction came to that vile man and hey, we may be heading into something good where people would finally listen to Ike more and more. The New Day.

'Unfortunately, while he did overcome that and got the truths to come out on a Royal Commission report, he was unable to propel it further. The very next week after the pedophile's arrest, he made some strong comments on The Taegukgi which, of course, became what athletics administration saw as an incoming dumpster fire. The next thing we knew he was a goner from there, wrongfully dismissed and with no communication to the poor runners, your auntie included.

'I knew the intent was to clear- to cull and cut the entire team before refilling with those they wanted to restart. How stupid were they for thinking that way, but no one's surprised really. After all those years of struggle...you just get it, you know?'

-----

And all shits fell apart, in every wrong way possible for everybody.

The very next morning, the news was on the headlines of The Taegukgi. Given its status as the national Korean-language newspaper, and the central location of Quebec City in Quebecois journalism, this had only meant that the repercussions were particularly strong, as thousands had protested and telephoned to Cornwall to protest the decision. And for some time, there appeared to be hopes that Vonnegut, now being given enough warnings and taste of his own medicine to maybe control his mouth, were to be rehired.

Yet that didn't happen. The administration didn't budge one bit, for they viewed the team and its behaviour, which the former A.D. had viewed as 'cultic and demonic enough that it ought to end' on an archived email, as dangerous and had to be rebooted with much more obedient group of people. Perhaps, they were right in assuming that such mentality would make their lives easier- nobody likes when admin keeps getting in odds with its stars. That's how so many of the pro trades and college transfers happen to start with and whatnot these days, and you know, you just expect it as part of life.

What they did not realise was how such decision, now actively covered by The Taegukgi and of course the local newspapers, was not gonna work because the principles do not equal to practicality. Their poor response to the matter, in turn, had left most with no choice but to transfer or rip up their ROIs. Why bother?

And so the auntie, a hometown superstar who never wanted to leave the town, transferred out of her dream school to go to Mount Ester. She knew she had no choice especially when she knew there was no point staying anymore, and competing for her old club would have been fine, school mattered too for her and it was all so much along the lines of Goodbye Town. And that's where uncle remembers firmly:

'You see, Asher. I was ready to leave the institution.....As much as I loved the team, there was no way I was going to be able to handle further the suffering of what your auntie had gone through back then, I thought. Besides, Mount Ester is historic program too, so I thought I wouldn't be so badly off there.

'So I was at Coach William's office, bowling my eyes out as I knew I couldn't do enough, and told Coach Yi that I wasn't going to be able to join as assistant as I had agreed to just months prior. He understood, just nodded along, patting me on the back and then just said, 'You see, son. Stay for three more years. We win two more at least, hand the baton to Marcel (Cody-Yi), Felix (Ahn) and Pierre-Luc (Gibson), and prove those haters and the A.D. wrong. After that you can go and be with Brianne, but don't fail Felix and the Epeeists because Brianne did what was right for her.' So I stayed for three more years as promised, and then rejoined her there. Lots of long-distance but everybody knew and did their best to handle at least and for that, I thank Coach Yi and of course, the team, for understanding how hard it can get.'


So uncle Brock, after staying for three more years, went on a half-decade exile, as he first coached high school teams in Bathurst while auntie Brianne finished her BEng there and went back for her MEng while continuing to beat the odds, before the inevitable struck. The very next year, after the legendary trio of Yi, Ahn and Gibson had graduated, Coach Yi let his contract expire and after a year off, he went to lead his hometown school (ironically enough Mount Ester). Once again, it was the eventual Duke who offered newlywed uncle of mine to serve as assistant and there, he helped a huge part in Mount Ester's 2008 championship double.

As for stories back in Cornwall, it was still the same. The athletics department, shaken up visibly and tarnished, still ran things under the pretense of 'hakuna matata', and the admin were to remain the same until the same A.D., after another major scandal, was fired and replaced by Sir. Philippe in 2008. Long heartbroken by the impossibility of the trio reuniting, he asked uncle to come back and he, in tears of joy, accepted his way to the end. And while it would take some time for the Kenna-Lundrigans to heal once again by alma mater, they slowly got back to where they had hoped.

And the rest is history. They still live there- uncle Brock's now happily retired, having coached his last season just past february after 35 years, and awaits auntie Brianne, who is still five years away from retirement, to join him.

-----


So….well….yeah. the story of my uncle’s crazy turn of events is really the story of how sometimes, you have to follow your feelings and instincts and hope that you will be on the right side. For me, I always had this feeling that the Queen’s College and all its famed features- the limestone buildings two to three centuries old, parties on the student district, the famous clock tower of Regent Hall and not to mention the occasional brutalist remnants- were not brilliant because of their own but rather because of what the entire thing brought together in combination. And perhaps that’s why I didn’t end up there, as my longtime friend Myeong-Yoon had long dreamed to do so, or as my uncle, ironically enough, wanted me to come. It could seem a lot more intimidating than you’d imagine, especially if you aren’t one of those who are mentally strong or together enough. Uncle was ready to sacrifice and eventually move, auntie to move outta hometown, but I guess I wasn’t.
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:39 am, edited 7 times in total.
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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:24 pm

Childhood, Traces
PART 6 - Лето
Tournament : Sporting World Cup XI

Image

The Observation Car


For the past hundred years, the gothic facade of Montreal’s Saint-Pancras Station has greeted millions of passengers who came to the Imperial Chimney. Whenever I would wake up at five in the morning and head to the station to catch an early train, the sandstone structure’s window and the clock tower would stand well over me. Unfortunately it was remembered by most for usually the most heartbreaking reasons. One could make out the renowned hotel of its frontispiece, the occasional confetti in the air you would see and smell from a wedding parade, and not to mention the smell of heartbreaks brewed from the place. The orderliness of the windows, alternating with thousands of tales about the stories of farewells, greetings and of course the wanderings, reflected perfectly into myself then and now, as I find myself transported thereafter to the train set.

The legendary Calanian Mountaineer train, consisting of international trains that has been running six days a week for half a century, has been uninterruptedly linking Montreal Saint-Pancras, Emberton Great Northern, and Belle Haven Union stations. Of course, even before that, the railways connected the northwestern tip of Calania with the southwestern tip, but the connection wasn’t direct. So whenever people tell me uninterruptedly so for a solid century and half, I would come back at them and say: directly with Belle Haven, had passengers not been obliged to change at Emberton Great Northern station, where few carriages changed here and there due to traffic-related reasons. Those were the days when the passenger and freight demand between Quebec and Baker Park, Quebec and Krytenia and Krytenia and Baker Park all used to be lot more volatile to changes and of course outdated security infrastructures (mostly on Quebecois front due to limited investment ‘til the 1980s), so such stops were necessary. Of course unfortunate, but necessary enough.

From what I recall correctly, I have taken part in, I think, six such journeys to Baker Park, with the eventual destination always being the Red Deer Lake. Among those summer trips, I particularly singled out year 2033, as I recall the memories from that summer the best. In that year, our travelling party was a fairly small one, with about twelve members in four compartments.

The four compartments, all located on the 2nd car of the 14-car set, went as following: my mother sat reading one of several works written by her friend (whom a decade later, the late His Majesty were to appoint as the Official Court Historian that provided him privileged access to Royal Archives) on the No. 5 compartment he shared with the aforementioned University of Kingston professor and his late wife Maureen (bless her soul), a choreographer who owned a dance studio five minutes walk from my old high school. On the No. 6 compartment (a triple) right behind them, their son Myeong-Shin, an idol of mine growing up, as well as my cousins, Alexis and Byron Lundrigan, occupied the space as the one for the fourteen year olds. Behind that, on compartments No. 7 and 8, came me, my younger brother and Myeong-Yoon Heo, an eventual friend of mine, on former, as well as uncle Brock and aunt Brianne on board.

The year 2033 was quite an eventful year, for all that I remembered: Banijans were getting humiliated on the international stage, that was also filled with droughts and insurgencies. The Quebecois newspapers were filled with millions of question marks and of course, mockery, of the stubborn friends of southwestern Atlantian Oceania who made little sense when asked of their intentions at the Quebecois Commonwealth Assembly. Aside from that, there were quite a few things to note- in May, St. John’s Arsenal had won their last of 14 Q-League titles to this day. In July, the hundredth anniversary of the QBC Promenades was celebrated in Quebec City. It was mid August now. With the resumption of Bakerian schools and universities, this had meant that the train would be filled with Quebecois families heading first to Belle Haven, and continuing onto Red Deer Lake. The northern woods of Quebec, Semarland and eventually the unincorporated Mertagne moved along, as the following day saw the arrival of temperate woods in Krytenia.

On the observation car, as we watched the Mertagnian villages turn into Krytenian towns and cities that looked a lot more vibrant and temperate, me and my friend Myeong-Yoon played cards while the older kids of the No. 6 let us do our own thing. Through the sunrise and sunset, we would watch the tourists come and go, while the Krytenian locals, who had long known of the overnight high speed train’s usefulness, frequented their opportunity to use the observation car. It was heckuva sight: even as I tell you this story, on the other side of the Multiverse over a chat of two journalists in Landslide Global, I see the very same image of how beautiful and bustling a train ride can both be. In some ways, I am reminded of the orange-brown locks of Myeong-Yoon, who always looked more like her mother Maureen, a woman of renowned beauty that captured many back in the day.

The famed words were that in year 2012, her beauty had managed to capture the eyes of a young sabreur under Lundrigan and McCarthy’s tutilage, who nearly committed suicide over the unrealised feelings. Around 2014, it was the very presence of her that brought him back from a car crash that ended his fencing career three months before the Quebecois Commonwealth Games in Levis, Capitale-Nationale; causing him to fight for a cause just as all had seemed a loss. There were many allusions made by people as to how the redheaded woman, whom the sabreur’s friends had all opposed to the possibility of their relationship the second time in 2014, was a dangerous creature, a Medea or Circe. But the suspicious has been amply recovered during the three decades they would spend together thereafter- from the gently-lit cities of Quebec City to their alma mater and Novopetrogradian research trips, as well as the lecture halls of University of Kingston and dance salles. Not to mention in two athletically-gifted children of theirs. The fact that sometimes, the unexpected of the unexpected happens with what appears to be a magical power of love, of course is something that we should think a bit more about in this day and age.

‘Have you ever been in love, and do you believe in the chances?’ Myeong-Yoon would ask, trying to catch me awake, as she slowly shuffled the cards. The observation car, by this point, is long dark and somewhat empty, with few elderly couples and a couple of other children present for whatever reason I could care less about. Given that it was night, it had made even more sense to talk of those that we would feel slightly more uncomfortable in daylight. Of course her and I, always close but never really drawn to each other beyond amitié after all these years, came to ask ourselves the same question over and over again….It is something that us two, since then, have become familiar thinking about. Perhaps for best reasons, but other times in committing many youthful mistakes.



‘Okay, so let’s be clear. A friend of yours is Myeong-Yoon Heo of the Grim Reapers?’

‘Yes, Michael. How many times do I have to tell you that she’s my friend?'

‘I know, Asher, but this seems to get me every single time. You just refer to her as normally as possible, by just mentioning her as ‘yeah, my friend Myeong-Yoon’ and whatnot.’

‘Yes. It does not change a single dynamic though. Her and I knew each other even before she changed schools. Of course, we weren’t in the same primary or even middle school, but sometimes, connections work weirdly in Quebec. That’s how I learned to be careful with whom I cultivate relationships back home.’

'I see what you mean. I assume it's not easy to just tell people like how it was though.'

'Oh, certainly it wasn't. You either have to grow into that skin, develop into it with age and wisdom, or just not at all.'

'Perfect. Anyways, let's get back to recording this...'



Sleeping Car


Of course, on those train journeys, the time flies exactly as imagined. The vibrant hustle of activity, from homes to homes, would catch our eyes as I noticed the settings change to the urban universe of Emberton. In Emberton I recall seeing the city comparable to our northern metropolis, with its vibrant nightlife features. The informal contact, met between the train and our own travelling selves, provided enough comfort for our wondering eyes.

The other, of course, was looking at the very romanticised notion of a future that I was to eventually face on my own, as the Lundrigan adults and of course, Dr. Heo, shared during their college days. Was I to know that I, too, would go through it earlier than imagined, and who knows, in future? That, unfortunately, I cannot answer. Anyways, the city views were putting me and Myeong-Yoon starry-eyed, as we watched the train slowly enter into the legendary building of Emberton Great North that predate the Second Krytenian Monarchy (unrelated to the first monarchy, whom the Royal House had long established ties under Prince Richard of Walton).

From what I recall, and which has stayed on the back of mind was, how there were downsides to those late-hour stops on southbound trains, which would stop in Emberton Great Northern around nine for half an hour,and Ousevale St. Thomas Aquinas just shy of midnight for yet another ten minutes. One of the issues I had with those late hour stops was that only about two thirds of the cafes and restaurants were open. Of course, at least one sold a curry dish or two that were emblematic of Krytenian cuisine, and that’s what several of us quickly rushed to order before bringing back to our carriages waiting on Platform no. 1. The other, of course, was the inability to view the orchards and occasional country villages that draped the paysage between Emberton and Ousevale. Those I recall better on the northbound, simply because the trains would be passing through those villages and rolling hills here and there on early to late afternoons, and occasionally families would be having afternoon tea and listening to live music on the dining car. I would recall how rich the range of options were out there, especially with the abundance of pastries, fruits and pastries, bringing us a small time travel to the times when such journeys were a lot more commonplace for both the elite and the common folk. Such a shame that those were not really explored on the particularly savoury part as we headed south, alas!

It was during those late nights of the southbound journey, however, that usually the finest of stories of the ride were still being told. In all four compartments were the stories shared, as I recall various matters, from the latest news of social media to basic baseball sabermetrics, as well as about the occasional official bard groups who would sing in the Lounge Car. On our three-person compartment, we used to gossip about things so trivial they seldom matter on our normal lives of now, and just heard occasional creaks and cracks of the train’s relative age - it was introduced sometime between 2010, its year of introduction, and 2012, the final year of the Laganiere Carriages’ introduction to The Calanian and The Calanian Mountaineer services - and might get scared here and there. On the hallway, you’d see Myeong-Shin and our cousins Alexis and Byron, as well as Byron’s college girlfriend (they are married now), a fine art student, named Kenzie, chatting and just being either the middle, high schoolers or college students they were at that point.

By the time it struck midnight and the train made a stop at the glass-made palace of Ousevale St. Thomas Aquinas station, all three of us in the kiddies’ compartment would be very close to falling asleep. By now, the passengers of this train have long been used to it, whether it’s because of how long they have travelled on the train (minimum 16 hours, let’s say that) or how frequent they have taken it for work. But beyond Ousevale, the last major stop before the train's arrival in Endborough, the familiarity became unfamiliar to many if not most, as the sense of drowsiness, partly brought by how much time spent in our compartment (none of our parents would let us go to other compartments nor other cars unless with them), would be disrupted with an occasional stop or two, but then would just pace themselves along nicely, as the quiet, spakoynaya noch, entered into the train as it travelled past the Krytenian border and across Ibex.
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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:49 pm

Childhood, Traces
PART 7 - Moondance
Tournament : Sporting World Cup XI


The next morning, what seemed to be the neverending horizons found under the sun scoped all over the Great Calanian Desert, as the brutal, throttling self told us that we were slowly on the final stretch of travels. Many were looking outside in despair or awe, as the train part their way through the desert in what was yet another battle between the mankind and the nature, the society and the individual, and many more comparables you could make to such struggles that our ancestors, whether foreign or Quebecois, struggled to break for decades if not centuries.

Still, all things dry and far were to end at some point, and it was around 15:00 that the Calanian Mountaineer reached Endborough, where we were to have an overnight stop. Since the State Museum was close to the end of its business hours by the end of the day, what usually happened instead was that the nights were used to either watch an Endborough Gold Sox Game or to take part in ferry rides along the White and Belle Haven Rivers, a sight widely popularised by a Quebecois film made in mid-80s, whose title I no longer recall. Then there would be enough time spent back in the hotel rooms, before we went to sleep and boarded, at eleven in the following day, the Endboroughian which dropped us around Village-des-Pins station at Red Deer Lake, one of the two largest lakes found in the Endover state.

-----


As I have mentioned before, the Quebecois Villages of old were still the same ole as they were just a few decades ago when the Vdaran royals frequented it more than how they do now. The summer shrubs and the wild berries draped the trees on the quiet country walkpath that led into the Limassol Cottage. Hotel Sylvain IV had its final summer run before it was to go under a three-year renovation. The Brigadier-General Suite at 7th floor of Hotel Rivard has seen a fairly unimpressive list of occupants, before Kim Gye-Sung, the 11th Duke of Navarre, made his own visit to the Lake District five years ago, to discuss an intimate matter of concern with a notorious band of high class socialites.

On the Gwangmoo Pier, located in middle of the Promenades and Beaches that every visitor recall due to different sets of reasons, you’d recall how agile the young children (myself included, though I was very much the opposite) were as they tried to outrace the young parents who’d carry their strollers along the walkways, and not to mention the occasional middle-agers whom were just having their own time looking at the sunrise, sunset or even a no-luck fishing opportunity.

The rich pine and oak trees of the forests, somewhat different from the breeds than the ones native to Quebec, and the birds spoke in different tongues and wore different badges of honour. The latest country hits, originating from afternoon programs that National Radio Corporation’s Endborough Station at 103.0 would play, had kept the northerners feel at home and was still a noticeable feature when I heard from those of the younger generations who spend their summers instead.

Along occasional plots to farther sides of the beaches of this district, various seaside fields and mounds gave the teenagers and youngsters enough time and distraction away from their parents, who had their own ways of enjoying the summer vacation. Among our travelling entourage that was particularly evident. I was usually playing baseball with my ‘brother’ Myeong-Shin, who never came short from displaying his athleticism that made him a highly-coveted shortstop and linebacker from as early as grade six.

Of course, we all know how his circumstances have led into odd ways- the famous sayings were that he, who grew up watching his idols of Tigers’ minor affiliate, Cornwall Tigers, just down the road from his home, thought he was going to play for Cornwall CVI one of the most prestigious public high schools in country better known for academics and minor sports athletes (my cousins, who got the Kenna blood in them, for example), and then just play for his parents’ alma mater, Queen’s College. Life, however, got into the way when Dr. Heo accepted the professorship and moved to Mississauga, where he enrolled into Songjeong Middle School. There he too continued to excel, being known for pitching 88 miles/average his grade eight year in a match eight months from now, and offers followed. After much persuasion and of course, the advantage of playing in a Midtown school just 15 minutes away from both the Skydome and the Mudeung Field, he eventually went to Erskine Collegiate in fall of 2034, an academic school known for baseball and hockey but not really on football. After that, we know the rest of his heroics, so I’ll spare y’all from that. You guys already watch QBO enough times anyway, and he’ll be playing for World Baseball Classic this January anyway.

Anyways, so Myeong-Shin, out of his love and also nudges, naturally brought me to the field, long after failing to bring Myeong-Yoon or my cousins there. Of course, it wasn’t an easy journey nor an idea. Since I was the youngest kid there, naturally I was placed to play the painful position in catcher. Of course, little did I know that would help me as I became adept at the position and continued playing at high school and then college. Funny how life turns out.

Besides that, the usual happened. Men wore swim trunks that were either too generically black or white, or excessively colourful enough to belong in a flower expo; ladies had their own choices of what they had wanted to wear, whether it be swimsuits, beach clothes or bathgowns that remind myself of this tune. At a remarkable pace did they move, and so did occasional boats that would depart either at dawn or late-afternoon to go fishing or windsurfing.

Taking advantage of those demands and the happy-goers were the vendors, who found these summer employment opportunities quite profitable for good reasons. They, in occasional stalls that we have all frequented before with limited pocket money, tried to convince- with a matter of chance- to try their ice creams, cotton candies or other sweet equivalentes. Sometimes they were successful, other times they weren’t.

The process of dancing and singing took part on the sands of the beach. Occasional musicians, who either rented a vacation spot on timeshare, were there with their families of bandmates to help the kids and adults enjoy a quiet summer abroad while under homely comfort. Occasional baigneur, while drunk or high, would wander around while listening to the guitar or flute tunes, and would occasionally try to jump into the water. This, of course, would usually be stopped by their friends and family members, but an occasional miss would lead into drownings that caused pain more often than not.

Somewhere, around same time, you would bump into an occasional cabin where piano or some rare instrument (Harp? Traditional Korean-Quebecois ones? I do not recall exactly) would be played into the night. If you were a newcomer to the Red Deer Lake District you’d get surprised by it, but after few years, you would just nod along with moving heads. Cottage cabins smelling of wood and the salt coming from the bathing suits, the occasional wanderer or frequenter would notice the elements lifting onto a different kind of curiosity. That, frankly, would lead into all sorts of questionable conducts by those senior to myself at the time, and eventually myself once grew older to be like Myeong-Shin or my Lundrigan cousins. Of course, many regrets were made and tears shed, but that's just something all to natural of a summer.
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Fri Jul 17, 2020 5:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:25 pm

Childhood, Traces
PART 8 - Graffiti
Tournament : World Baseball Classic 49

Walking through the city streets, is it by mistake or design?
Lana Del Rey, Born To Die -


Was it by accident that I happened to find that voice in my head?

I do not know if it’s by fate or by design that have led me there, that summer, nor do I care on whether it matters or not. Sometimes, the divine figure, high above, has those designs, but those aren’t always foolproof and more often than not you’d fall into such errors where you, too, would behave as if omnipotent. That could end up going dangerous for many of us, as that can either contribute to a cycle of terrible loves that you find yourself committing or receiving the abuse of the flames of irrationality, or just fall into even worse cycle of hubris that ultimately costs your life. So you, dear reader, should always be cautious when thinking about the purpose and how you and a certain love of your life, got brought together at that moment and stage.

Anyways, let’s go back to the timeless sphere of Baker Park. On one of the salles of the Dance Hall, the only remnant at the tip of the Gwangmoo Pier and what remains of its early days, that was where the tunes binded me, side by side, with another Quebecois girl named Eileen.
She was a year older, having turned 13 when the previous school year was slowly wrapping up, and I turned 12 the previous month. One thing I could clearly recall was how it was close to nine in the evening, which had meant that the sun was setting, and yet nobody cared about where I wandered around. Red Deer Lake District, after all, was one of those weird timeless places where people behaved as if all went normal and ‘normie’, and so a random go-around like the one I had that evening, was of course tolerated.

Attention was drawn to the quiet beating of the piano keys that she had tugged along as if they were her own heartstrings, and likely reflected that of the wavelengths of the dancers around or slightly older than us. Of course, I was not really a Southwesterner, and that showed pretty well. The lightest shades of her blue eyes, which looked more like a pair of opals than the aquamarines, looked on point to all those who dared to see, that highlighted the cheekbones. She wore a flowery blouse, befit with a light, pale jacket, that I had reminded myself of a certain Park Gyu-Seong novel I read that summer named ‘꽃밭에 로라 (Laura of the Flowerbeds)‘, which would eventually resurface on my Baccalaureat exam as a college senior.

She spoke slowly, perhaps too paced if anything, in a mix of the Royal Standard for her Quebecois English and French, but also the southwestern branch of the Eastern Dialect group of her Quebecois-Korean. It is not too unusual and if anything, I’ve found the case with children of our time at the cottage county here and there who have come from both the Metropoles or the provinces. That’s partly to do with the product of third-language education in this country which rely upon local dialects, something that I, myself have gone through as a relative latecomer. But it's also to do with what we get used to in general way of life. That's why it'd be near impossible to see those outside of the Montreal and Quebec City metropolitan area to speak all three under the Royal Standard. Kinda ridiculous to expect it.

Anyways, I won't that deny that it was certainly unusual for me to have ended up frequenting the dance halls at such an age. I also understand that it could be translated in a wrong manner. Emotional attachments have not been my strengths and it will never be, however degenerate of a human being you may have seen me in past and present. College stories of debaucheries and low purity test scores explain only parts of my story and whatnot, and we should remember that. But when I first met Eileen, I knew that there was something electric in the air.

For the usual catcher on the diamond and the rafter on the river, Eileen seemed to me much more out of sort than those of the other side at Red Deer Lake district. Unlike short stories that involve twelve-yr old teenage romances or even some of those coming-of-age movies, I quickly came to realise that this love wasn’t one of those cases where there existed particular disparity of love received by a child’s parents. Instead what became of it was rather the melodies that just flowed through the air, as we walked over the grass another day hoping that the divine being does not separate us so early. ‘Fold it, fold it, fold i-i-i-it,’ she said, as we were spinning into circles after circles in some grassy patch that was randomly strewn between cottage homes and the woods.

And as the circles became dizzingly faster and more visible, I offered a piece of my plans to find solitary time with Kenna cousins (to spare ourselves from confusion), who themselves became acquainted with many siblings, cousins or cousin-siblings of theirs that frequented the field. They got along well with those of the ‘deuxieme fin-de-siecles‘, something that a Dr. Heo referred with a raised eyebrow. It was pretty easy to interpret what the perky ears had meant, as I knew they were clearly of the rural nobility with old, old estates and fair few in college, but not a ton on their coffers to vacation out in West Aotearoa (half a world away in Southwestern Tyran, which requires almost-mandatory layover at Handon International Airport), or somewhere farther in the Quebecois Commonwealth. There’s some sort of commonality that they nodded along, as Bron-Yr-Aur seat of the house was too a country barn, family-owned house in Quebec City often rented out, and of course the family being fairly new to Cornwall. It’s one of those old tongues that some, especially those more familiar with history or are just from such backgrounds abroad, would sense right away, but would otherwise be difficult to detect.

During my three weeks spent here, my passions reflected the colours of the sky that changed too dramatically, eventually culminating into chromatics and vague patterns that I would only regain few times since that summer. Since my father, still a PJQ (Parti Justice de Quebec) parliamentarian, chose to stay out of much socialisation with his fifties for much of the time spent here, the tales of passion stayed with my family, the Heos and of course, the Kenna-Lundrigans.

There was something special, with how retrospective the time ran, and how vivid images can get. One thing I recall was how her eyes, while not the brightest of the shades of blue, seemed to bring rain wherever the humidity became too much. If I noticed she had been crying, for whatever the reason I do not recall, I would feel the same. Of course, I could not just indulge upon alcohol or marijuana that the older children of the Lake actively sought out, but we did, however, enjoy cherry pop soda and occasional tea. One day, as we were dancing to a bunch of old LPs that had returned to its vogue state not too long ago here, the lights went out for a solid hour. Yet, all that there was for us to slow dance because the Record Player was still going on and the music slowed down, to the point where we were getting transported back in time. So bizarre was such, that I all could think of saying was, ‘May god forgive, May it all quiet down, to the point where time would not surpass us.’

I had a specific plan that I assumed would not be major, but would just be enough. Besides, what else I could have done in middle of timeless, Victorian space where everything were moving as if Queen Arlene was still reigning, and the Commonwealth was still very much the Quebecois Empire and the allies? The fiddle tunes were all that I could hear, the ones I had used to hear from old Golden Hills of Anticosti Island. One night, I stayed up a little bit later than usual, talking to my cousins and planning on how to get by with this. The nods and the strums, along the melodies of a bard’s caravan or two on the road, rose and buzzed in the darkness and then just went on.

Of our actual trial, there’s little to be said about it. My memory reminds me of how her face dimply llit, somewhat reflecting into the cinema screen, as our Kenna-Lundrigan cousins, Kenzie and Myeong-Shin (Myeong-Yoon was busy rafting upstream that weekend), were busy watching a Bakerian classic on the other side. The next thing I remember was the proximity of the scene. There we sat, holding hands, and then she turned around outta blue and we kissed. All I remembered was the softness and how the earth, soul and the body met, as my eyes were firmly closed with all the nerves and fatigue attached to it. Beyond that, I’m afraid I would be doing a great disservice by describing such feeling. My final glimpse is all of us going to the local galleries under the direction of Dr. Heo and my mother, before being led back to the all-stops, mail train around seven in the evening. My stocky legs and thick thighs, of old, moved with weariness and I could remember how amused both of them were, upon such sight. My cousin Alexis, a high school junior, kept looking at me with particular amazement, as if she’s deliberately peering at me with both warranted and unwarranted interest.

And then the summer went along, and along, as we continued to meet in same spirals and senses, but eventually all things were to end early and prematurely so. Eileen was back in her small southwestern time by the time my summer ended and I had to start grade seven at Dongseong Middle School, but by the virtue of luck, I saw her for the last time in what was likely a matter agreed upon by my parents. She wore a lavender coloured straw hat, which did not fit her head at all, and it appeared to me that she was in town for something different, in a more important matter found in more autumnal, Metropolitan (referring to the two metropoles of the nation in Montreal and Quebec City), and a haute-classe manner. We had a slow walk for half an hour, grabbed an ice cream, and then it was time for my clan to head southwest again- she slipped into my hand a farewell present, a golden ring with small gemstone (later turned out to be emerald, however tiny it may have been), which I knew it was something for me. Then she was off, like the leaves that were to start fall at the beginning of autumn here. Like all good things the time you share with them is short, and like all heart-strung moments, the time you linger over them is long....



‘Well, that’s one way to end today’s part of the series. With a nice recap of how things eventually ended up, but unremarkably so.’

‘Well, you see, Mark. That’s not the end. There’s much more to that than what you’d imagine. But it does require us to look a bit more into my teenage years, so we’ll have to jump time a bit.’

‘Lundrigan? Bryant-Schumacher?’

‘Yeah, I’m fine with that. You know, Asher, your stories are entertaining enough to keep me listening...and that’s why we’re recording it! What else is there for us to do that?’

‘Lundrigan?’

‘Of course, that’s a valid argument to put forth and whatnot. Now, you see my high school days weren’t so easy or even smooth as I’d be describing them, so just be careful with that. You know, being an unreliable narrator’s my specialty, you see…’

‘ASHER C. LUNDRIGAN! COME TO MY OFFICE.’
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Founded: Feb 15, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:38 am

Childhood, Traces
PART 9 - Little Bird
Tournament : World Baseball Classic 49


Landslide Global Headquarters, Plibury, Grearia

‘What do you mean? Why am I here in your office at ten in the morning? You never schedule the one-on-one meetings this early, Roy.’ Asher stood in front of his end of the business table, feeling very much concerned that he had to wrap up a recording session when it’s only ten in the morning. Memories- they are fickle creatures of their own breed, and he knew that interruption to the narrative would not be a good thing at all.

Yet he was still here, and there wasn’t much he could have done to get away from this awkward situation. Besides, he knew he probably committed something badly enough to be caught.

‘I know it’s nothing big, if you don’t make it big.’ Roy Zimmerman, the Editor-in-Chief, looked at him, while the sun shone brightly outside their office tower. There was no sense of certainty in the air. Both Asher and Roy knew that all’s gonna end very well or the junior of the two’s going to be fired by the end of the day. Of course, the headquarters wasn’t big to start with - there were only about sixty staff members working there - and everybody knew words can be very potent as weapons as well. ‘That’s what we have to agree upon, right?’

‘Yes. You have to explain to me though. There must have been some sort of misunderstanding,’ Responded Asher, in an attempt to get around the increasing headache that this was becoming. The 23-year old always had a nose to find ideas out of the blue. The fact that he’s not afraid to experiment or risk flying into those zones, that’s one thing that quickly got the approval of his supervisors at its branch office that’s just as well known internationally in Landslide Quebec, where he interned for all three summers of undergrad days.

Even after a year of increasing recognition by those of the sporting and musical communities, he was still largely unfamiliar with many of his colleagues at Landslide International. They were generally older, Esportivan, and had been through enough situations in life and world that all he had for their struggles were respect- a particular note given all the regional conflicts that occurred in the 2020s and 2030s. It was an unfortunate aspect of being always around the clock as a two-job journalist. Time management was particularly important in his professional situation- and this had sometimes meant that you’d be able to have a full day or two off, but be working for days straight. For Asher, however, that wasn’t so much an issue, as it was more on him flying abroad all the time with his arms out like a pair of Aerobus A-380 wings, between Concord Heights, Quebec City, and Salvador (where the nearest flight from Quebec City land).

‘Well, I don’t think you’re telling me what exactly happened.’ Zimmerman stared at him with a particular sharpness to his edge, feeling unsatisfied with Asher’s response. ‘I accidentally ended up seeing an L’Instagramme story of one of our colleagues, and it had some morally...questionable content.’ It was pretty clear from the onset that he knew it was somewhat uncomfortable for the Guayabalense-Grearian to discuss, and he attempted to control it with a curveball or two. Still, it was pretty clear to Asher on what he was talking about. That at least he wasn’t denying. ‘It’s quite impressive that you were able to still leave the bacchanalia in time and fly your way back to Plibury, just in time for your morning flight. Amazing even.’

‘Mmm-mmm-mhm.’ was all that came out of Asher’s mouth, as he tried his best to come up with a good excuse. A weekend getaway to nearby Porto Nowi for the final matchday of the season, which of course came with ‘additional perks’. Months of planning ahead, weeks of finding the right blue paint that would not affect his reproductive organs upon contact, and not to mention days of finding a right bodysuit to wear in time for getting back to the Porto Nowi Airport for a 6:30 a.m. flight. He scratched his head for a couple of seconds and tried to gather correct words on how to explain it all - amusing enough to find a passable explanation, but also painful enough to come up with the right words. How was he going to find a way out of explaining this weird situation with a Zeta Rekan ultra’s executive core that happens to have offered him a chance to join their executive-only smurf orgy? That he was unsure to explain how.




Just few days ago...

‘С добрым утром. Просыпайся!’’
‘Morning, Quebec Smurf.’
‘Fuck, turn off the lights...it’s four in the morning!’
‘Mph, Mph. Mph….’
‘Dobro jutro, Aschere. Why the fuck you up right now?’
‘Have a flight to catch back to Grearia. Now, if you can excuse me….can you please pass me my pants?’
‘Yes, papa smurf, yes. YES!’
'There, there. Why can't you calm down a bit? Gargamel's already exhausted because he has low endurance, and a bunch of other smurfs seem to have moved onto other rooms.'
'Hopefully not the washroom, bruh.'
'Not my problem,
‘Mph. Mmmm. Ph. Mmmm…..MPH!’
*moans*
‘....well that’s at least a good sight to watch. One pair doing it on the bed, while there are a couple of them, still with some blue paint on, on some sofas.‘
‘Sure thang it is a fun sight. Anyways, when’s your flight, Quebec Smurf?’
‘The Spiritair flight to Salvador’s in…..3 hours. That’s why I do need to go.’
‘Mph. Ugh….let’s go. Mph.’
‘Yes, yes, yes, yes…’
‘You know how to get to the Porto Nowi Airport right?’
‘Yes I did, Clumsy Smurf. I'm not like you.'
'Good. Anyways, Grouchy Smurf here....hope you clean yourself from the blue and pack your stuff before you fly. Heard that those customs officers aren't so nice these days.
‘Mph. Mph. Mphhhh….mph,.....’
‘Yes. I did, Grouchy Smurf. I’ll probably have to get changed to the jumpsuit though, in case the blue paint may not be scraped off all of my body.’
‘Okay. So, mph, it’s, mph, very…...mph, very straightforward. Just catch the cab to the airport, mph, it should, mph, take you, mph, about twenty minutes.’
'Perfect. Many thanks.'
'No worries, mph. Mph.'
'Such a shame all went like that, and on the day we had our distinguished guest here, in Quebec Smurf. A meagre 1-1 draw against Stanmir and there it went. Our title hopes went away like those 2 points we should have captured.'
'Eh, it's okay. Things can always get worse. Like that Waluigi we brought here last time around....he didn't do so well when I brought him.'
'So you were there that night in Delaclava, Quebec Smurf. The hot night of passions in Manchester, after a Delaclav win over the Naked Princesses.'
'Of course I was there! One of 340-something lucky people, that's me.'
‘YES! **** me like Paznyak to them degenerates!’
'fUcK mE pApA sMuRf.....'
‘Here we goin’, smurfette. Here we goin!!!!’
‘Oh what the heck! Anyways, bro, good game today. Tough luck we didn’t get to win it all this time, but maybe better luck next year. Perhaps Stanmir might properly challenge us this time though.’
‘God I hope it’ll get even more exciting than that. You’ll read a solid article about it on Landslide International soon, assuming it passes.’
'oh....OH....'
'OOOOOOHHH....'
'OHHHHHH.........OHHHHH....'
'YYYYYYYYYYYYYEAAAH.....'
*lots of moans*
'Well, at least that was a sight.'
'Good job today, Papa Smurf....loved it.'
'Oh yes...yes....my dear Smurfette...'
‘Oh, sure thing! We’ll be all reading it in 2 weeks’ time, that’s for sure. Anyways, Quebec Smurf, I have a bigger question for you.’
‘Yehhhh…...s, Grouchy Smurf?’
‘How are you still standing and able to get to the airport for six a.m. flight after all that fun?’




‘So you did find out about it.’ Asher responded, somewhat impressed his supervisor had just enough space on the corner of his eye to look at Asher’s coworker’s social media stories. ‘I’m quite impressed you weren’t so surprised about it.’

‘I don’t think anybody got surprised over it.’ Roy explained with simplicity. ‘As great as the Porto Nowi derby is, and how it seems to drive up a libido of every man, it’s now clear that the whole smurf orgy was what may have brought you to report the final matchweek of FLF ZRiH Divizija 1.’ Roy Zimmerman had once been part of the circuit many moons ago, when he was an undergraduate student from then-Guayabalense San Salvador. Zimmerman was a young international student at Seonggyoongwan University College, the Universite St. Croix’s equivalent of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and he clearly took part in those underground circles that was a symptom of institutional and cultural degeneracy that had come to define the Quebecois culture abroad. Since then, his life had evolved well enough that he was in a good stage to get away with it, but still be aware when to say otherwise to debaucheries. Zimmerman, the Editor-In-Chief of Landslide International the past twelve years, was now one of the most prolific figures of sports and music journalism in the Sporting Multiverse- all the years he spent building it up in both Quebec and ex-San Jose Guayabal/now-Grearia were worth the pain and drain. He was funky, genuine and bald, with a lavender dress shirt and circular glasses.

In the meanwhile, Asher was still up-and-coming star in Quebecois journalism, who may have achieved a ton in a post-graduation year of employment with both Concord Heights Times and Landslide International, but he knew he still had a long way to go.
The two looked at each other, and then briefly looked at the sunny view of Downtown Plibury that they used as the base camp. Perhaps being blatant is better than saying no to this, Asher thought. ‘Yeah, I guess you’re right on that.’ Asher sighed, nodding a couple of times. ‘But I guess it’s not the be all, end all? Experiencing the fan culture out there in Zeta Reka and Hügeltaldom was certainly worth it, especially since we expect a couple of Quebecois players to head there down the road anyway….especially for Stanmir.’

Fortunately, Asher saw a clear nod coming from his supervisor. ‘That’s also a valid point.’ He agreed. ‘You see. You’ve done some phenomenal work for us already, and you know that you are the youngest staff member ever to reach the middle-level employee. So we cannot fire you.’

‘That’s at least good. Hopefully there’s something else I can do to partly make it up, as long as the news about the smurf orgy don’t spread.’ Asher flung his air around in glee.

‘Then you have to finish something for me.’ Roy looked at him, as he slowed down to explain a complicated concept, in the odd, Hispanic variation of Royal Standard that Asher assumed had come down to years of living in Grearia. ‘So just two days ago, while you were still in Porto Nowi, I managed to receive a very good news that Landslide International have just won the honour to be the only media outlet that will have an ex-clu-sive, 2-hour long interview with Plongeon.’ He smiled, giving a particular moment of heightened confidence that came with even more responsibility. ‘But they did have a condition, that you, Asher Chania Lundrigan, be the interviewer for this occasion.’

‘But, why me?’ Asher asked in confusion, uncomfortably trying to hide something he wasn’t really ready to discuss at this point in time. Even after all the months of working with his supervisor, and earning his favour through diligent work and of course, the resemblance of a fuckboi way of life he had long come to enjoy, there were some things he simply wasn’t ready to discuss. ‘Don’t we have Kostya (Kulikov) or Kiannah (Kibanga-Saladino) for this purpose? I'm sure they are probably in better shape to write music articles....It's just not my vibesz right now to write music and pop culture articles! Those are best in the fall!’

‘I don’t know, but it was HER idea to be interviewed by you.’ Roy shrugged. ‘Not a bad thing though. You’re that one major star weeee have around her age group, and one who also needs to breathe the air a bit more and start heading bit more into wooded walks, while burning less rubber every other day of your life. She’s a lovely person, believe me, and I know that you won’t screw it up.’
‘But...but….’ Asher sighed, trying to put together his words as he asked. ‘What about my interview piece on Luochong Zhuang, as I previously promised to you?’

‘Oh that?’ Roy raised his eyebrows, as clicked the clicker to show the article draft he received five days ago. ‘Is perfect. Just what we need.’ And then they slowly went through the article:

Image

Luochong Zhuang : Landslide International Interview
The First in-depth international interview, spanning 2 hours, with the Sherpa Superstar


Image

BY ASHER C. LUNDRIGAN

Although one of the best baseball pitchers on the international stage, Luochong Zhuang is also one of the most unique sportspeople of our times. Since taking the world on storm over the past decade in both his career with Guangzhou and the Sherpa Empire National baseball team, all the world’s eyes and attention have fallen on Zhuang who, in spite of all the challenges, keeps himself focused and curious about the world around him.

This interview and the photographs- probably the finest of Zhuang in the past five seasons- were completed last April at Zhuang’s apartment in Guangzhou. The interview was conducted by Asher C. Lundrigan. Although this isn’t the most thorough set of questions and answers, this interview is still the most extensive of all those conducted so far about the tall, lanky right-handed pitcher to the international media. Of course, the rest and more will be filled in over time, as we grow older and watch him complete a full cycle in his career, but in the meantime, it is our absolute pleasure to offer this interview as a window to understand Zhuang, the true geek of our times.

Q : So, the first thing we'd like to talk about are your favourite topics of discussion like 'sustainable agriculture', 'mating patterns of fruit flies,' and of course, how you came to get interested in it...
A : How I got interested in it is a long story. Growing up, I was living in suburbs just outside Hangzhou, where I first debuted in the pros. Living in a place where there were just about enough green space. I always wanted to get out and pitch while still young, because it's fun and all that. Almost as if in a state where we are in Gyatso-Kai with their sky bisons and how much they eat...

Q : Absolutely. It's something very fascinating that many of us hold to our romanticised notion of past, but also to the promising prospects our futures hold specifically when it comes to sustainable agriculture and how to accept the environmental influences.
A : Right. The suburbs, and how slowly everything goes, even with the grasshoppers there, kinda have us give an underappreciation for our terrains, but as we travel more and look into the other ways of looking into life, it's something we all, as creatures unified under the one sun above and the soil underneath, have to understand.

Q : Absolutely. I do wonder what made you start playing baseball from an early age, and how you ended up playing pitcher?
A : Well, I mean, we were kids, you know, just kids. We were all kids looking for something fun to play. More often than not it’d be something involving screens per se, but just as much effort were given for those without screens as well. Sometimes we all forget too often about those outside and out there, because of how contained we can get on our urban settings. And that's where the environmental influences came into play from early on- the culture encouraged us to go for something bigger, the better and ultimately, to try bolder things.

Q : So that's how you fell in love with baseball.
A : Exactly. It's like Cassadagan ecology, and how the environmental influences there may have played a role in the matriarchal culture and whatnot. We were in local parks with a baseball diamond, and during after schools, we’d go there. Sometimes we’d bring homework there, so we could tell our parents we didn’t just spend several hours there for nothin’, but other times it’d come before or after. We were very lucky our local park happened to have night lights set up long before we started playing at young age...so sometimes it would go on, and on.
Q : Oh, absolutely. Interestingly enough, you did say that your favourite subject back in high school was science, especially biology. What made you get into it from such an early age?
A : There is something fascinating about how everybody and everything moves...so organically, and yet so meticulously and mechanically that cannot be explained in equations or words. We need something deeper and more fundamental to understand, and that’s what got me into it first. As it got tougher, it naturally became a greater interest of mine, and has remained as such....


‘But this will have to wait,’ he continued. ‘because of your behaviour, and also because having this week’s cover as that of Salvador Open which, given the location, makes more sense to do so. It will be on the cover for the next one though. That I can promise. Not to mention the Porto Nowi derby article still being there. Practical experience helps right there.’

‘Bloody hell,’ Asher sighed, before saying the old lyrics he had heard on radio before. 'Girlfriend, oh your girlfriend's drifting away. Past and present, 1855-1901...'

‘It’ll all be fine,’ Roy approached and patted Asher on head, as a gesture of compromise, before winking at him. ‘Just don’t screw it up. Heard that she’s even bigger of a name in the Quebecois Commonwealth than the Mainland. Cannot ignore that.’
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:32 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:20 am

Childhood, Traces
PART 10 - All I ask
Tournament : World Cup of Hockey XL


Spiritair Flight 4, from Salvador to Montreal

Is this by fate or design?

That’s all Asher thought of, as the Aerobus A360 was flying somewhere over the northwestern Esportiva. The Spiritair flight, a nonstop flight from Salvador International to Montreal Charles Merton Regimbault International Airport, was a smooth one, and with a clear blue sky and lots of cotton candy clouds over it, it seemed like a perfectly dreamy flight for an average traveller.

For Asher Chania Lundrigan, however, this flight was yet another part of the job that he was doing. Being a mid-tier journalist for Landslide International and AO Correspondent for Concord Heights Times since obtaining his M.A. at St. Croix had meant that he would most commonly associate himself with three words: Airports, Hotels, and Airport Hotels. Working in two different countries, his living arrangements were never stable, with him staying in his Plibury, Grearia, work-apartment for ten to fifteen weeks a year, and a room with a Queen size bed at chic Tiara Resort at Concord Heights, for just as many. Other times he’d be on the road or also spending time at his room in Quebec City that he rented from a recent St. Croix professor from abroad. So, a concept of home and being out and about has evolved into something else.

This, of course, had meant that he had to deal with unfortunate consequences that he would have avoided, had he decided to just move back to Kingston, nation’s fourth-largest city with notoriously provincial mindset, or Hampden, the college town of ole he cherished but knew he had to go elsewhere to prove something of worth in his life.

The fate, like it or not, was going to come back and bite me at some point.

Perhaps all that mobility issues, and moving around and about, may have played a role in him believing in the unusual. If there’s one thing you have noticed from our dear protagonist, dear reader, it’s that Asher Lundrigan never really discredited the possibility of fate, the karma, or pure coincidences. To him, everything had to make sense at some point, and even though the Lundrigans weren’t the Anglicans as they had written out on governmental census forms every half-decade, there was no denying that he believed in supernatural incidences and beings high above.

That convoluted sense of faith, that is both abstract and mysterious, yet clear and sound, partly came from how he knew something could always happen. Being a grandson of a famous baron-commander on one end, and a Vdaran King on the other, wasn’t something to joke about. No matter what, people would notice whom you are based on your familial background, a decent baseball career, and now his time as a journalist. That did play a huge role in his thought process as well, and he had to make sure to be careful of it and be prepared for almost every surprise in life.

Yet, after several years of a breakup, Asher never thought his ex-girlfriend would come back to his life as if a history book’s prewritten for them. His girlfriend was someone special. To him, she wasn’t just a famous singer-songwriter whose fanbase stretched far across the Commonwealth and the multiverse. She was more than that.

To him, she was more than just a pretty girl from Saint-Richard-upon-Battersea, a small town of 14,000 on the northeastern edge of Lyndhurst Forests, 45km southwest of Saint John-Habpo Twin Cities. She was a lot more than that long-distance relationship that we all had at some point.

To him, she was more than the endless texts and calls exchanged when they were still in high school. They were both busy- him having a darn good high school baseball career and her carving a very promising music career- but the distance made all worth it.

To him, she was certainly more than all the tears they had shed when they broke up, on a lonely night in Montreal. He still remembered how brutal the sight it was, to be there when the candles flickered and other tables rocked inside, as snow flurried outside at their restaurant. They knew that the tears were flowing inside and sooner than later, they spilt outside as they said their toughest words.

She was ‘the one’. The girl who taught him how to love, the one and only person whom he had felt something both special and serious to this day. She came into his life when he was lost and felt something was missing even at his height, and brought him newfound directions he had needed. And then, just like that, he had to let her go suddenly, just like how unexpected she came into his life when he was sixteen.

I did miss that autumn scent. The paintings, the leafy pool, and wild horses in those woods when I came to visit her that summer…

Asher thought to himself, as he slowly closed his eyes, to look back and hoped that all of this would just evaporate in mirage and he’d just have a solid day or two in Montreal. Unfortunately for him, it was still getting clearer and clearer that Asher Lundrigan had to see her again for the first time in five years. When he was alone again and had to prepare himself for college, Asher wished he could just forget about her altogether, and that their relationship was just nonexistent. But Asher also knew then that was impossible, and that proved to be the case. As he slowly rubbed his eyes, Asher remembered how he would sometimes hear a song or two of hers on radio, or find an article about her every once in a while. How her traces were very much there, even as he tried to remind himself that she’s not even in the Gaspesie region, did play a significant psyche over him during college autumns.

Of course, it would be silly to assume that their breakup had a role in him being a degenerate that we had just witnessed bits here and there. Asher had already seen enough in life and was open to trying whatever was out there in life. That's how he lived after all. This, however, manifested in weirder forms that his parents had dreaded and friends cheered, and the breakup may have played a role in it. But who’s to blame? I do not know, dear reader.

Asher questioned himself, as he tried to think about what would be best possible words to say to ‘her’ : Hello, ma’am, or miss. Nice-nice-to-meet you. It is, and always is, my absolute pleasure, to be with you, I meant to interview someone so prolific in the musical industry. I hope this, however awkward or hurtful it may-’

‘OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE ASHER. THIS IS FUCKING AWKWARD. YOU AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BRING IT BACK.’ He heard his other self interrupting him for advice, before engaging in a personal struggle. ‘Listen. The past is the past. All’s done and forgotten. But then, why does this all come back to you?’

‘Listen, Asher 2.0. I-, I-, I-...wish, that all...that all.’

‘Yes? Be clearer and tell me what you need to say.’

I just wish I could turn back the clock, and bring the wheels of time to a stop. I could have saved it all….and she could have saved it all...and we all would have...’ He slowly said to himself, stuttering and drowning in his own feelings. Then, just like that, a single teardrop drained down his face, as Asher slowly fell back into the arms of Hypnos in his domain over the international waters.



8 and half hours later...

It was a gentle, May evening in Montreal, the economic and contemporary-cultural capital of Quebec, and it was one of those evenings when the wind was breezing just enough to tickle your shoes. Not exactly hot wind, but it’s warm enough to suggest that the winter’s long past and behind. Maytime Montreal’s like this, to kick off a summer season for the college students and enerve the school-aged children whose exams were coming soon.

Those days of summer were, however, still far away for the adults whose school days were long behind, and this was no different for Asher Lundrigan. The rest of the flight went smoothly, arriving on an early afternoon in Montreal, and once he got his passport stamped by the customs officer, he hopped on the Quadricentennial Line to Atwater station, where he got off and went into the Avondale Villa Hotel, where he were to stay for three days before flying to Concord Heights. Then, after unpacking his belongings, he went downstairs and into the streets.

As he exited the hotel into Saint-Catherine Boulevard, Asher failed to notice a stranger walking the other way, and bumped hard into her.

‘Mon dieu! Sorry about that, ma’am.’ He asked, as he turned to look around, only to see a surprising appearance of the stranger. ‘Professor Jurado?’

‘Asher! Why are you here?’ Asked a familiar voice of Dr. Isabel Jurado, who was certainly a familiar figure to him the past five years. Still recovering from what seemed like an utter bodycheck, he was still getting used to the reality that this was Quebec, not Grearia or Cassadaigua, and that he would be noticed by those in the circuit around him. And that, of course, included his former classmates and teachers at Erskine and St. Croix. ‘Aren’t you supposed to be travelling, writing all the good stuff about international football?’

‘It’s a long story, Professor. For work I had to fly back to Quebec...’ He answered, trying his best not to mention anything about why he’s here. These days, he’s been flying back to Quebec for holidays and a couple of weeks during the summer, but has otherwise taken liberties to fly around the Multiverse.

‘I’m so happy to see you, as always.’ She answered, before giving him a nice hug. ‘Seems like you’re doing exactly as you had told me a while back….It does seem like you do need to visit Tequilo though. At some point you do need to cover the Liga-TQ.’

Right, Tequilo. Asher remembered that Dr. Jurado, one of his tutors of old days at Université St. Croix, was a Tequilian from Tapalupé, who also studied in Tamarindia and Wight, two mysterious places of their own kind. Of course, getting there is far and difficult, requiring just over 16 hours of flight, and that alone had so far left Tequilo from his list of travelled places. Still, he knew he would be there at some point, and had kept himself alert in case something were to happen.

‘Yes, yes, yes, ma’am.’ Asher nodded, before asking her back the same question. ‘What brings you here? I thought you had already flown back for summers as you always do.’

‘Not this summer.’ She quickly shook her head, confidently saying it so. That's something that the occasionally-eccentric professor never ran out of, and that's probably what brought her to the Quebec City school (OOC : I would say St. Croix's like an Oxbridge located in middle of Quebec City, with its own campus and all that). Within five years of taking the senior lecturer position, she had developed her own army of disciples whom were drawn to the Tequilian, and that quickly followed up with the endowed professorship at St. Croix. ‘I’ll be staying home because I do have some commitments to stay in Quebec City. Worked out fine enough, because I have a feeling that this summer’s going to be an exciting one at least. The shambolic quotient appears to be particularly high in the capital this year and whatnot.’

‘Well, that’s good to hear.’ He nodded along. ‘Hopefully I’ll be able to see you the next time I’m in Quebec City...probably come this July. I hope all’s well with you.’

‘Wait.’ Just as he tried to check his phone to indicate that he had to leave, Dr. Jurado raised her hand. Half-folded, half reaching out, she gave him a look of caution that Asher knew it came under one of those moments where she was going to say something insightful out of chaos. ‘Do not forget your past. They always follow, even you think you may have deleted the kisses and have moved on.

‘What do you mean, Professor?’ Asher replied with a surprise, catching up with him once more. Was there something peculiar she’s trying to get out of him? He wondered.

‘Asher.’ Isabel said in a solemn. ‘Tomorrow it will rain, and by the time you see someone dear to your heart, that’s when the miracle will happen. It’s not exactly a miracle, but the raindrops should bring you back to the time.’

‘The time as in…’

‘Well you know what I mean.’ Responded Isabel, checking her watch before bidding farewell. Asher paused for a moment, just giving into the reality. ‘Good luck, and may the leaves fall like how it did when I first arrived in this country 5 years ago.’
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:43 pm

Childhood, Traces
PART 11 Over My Head (Cable Car)
Tournament : World Cup of Hockey XL


After grabbing his dinner at a local deli, a decent place with a Kosher sandwich named Erenburg’s, Asher walked back to his hotel room to find himself alone, quiet and exhausted again. For a hotel located in Downtown Montreal, and especially the West End, it had that particular feeling of an airport hotel, where you knew you weren’t expecting much beyond few amenities. But the design of the rooms were way nicer than those in the median and you would have no problem conducting your own business, so he was happy enough that it didn’t cost him much.

Anyways, it was strange enough for Asher to be so tired and lost over it, considering how it’s a fact that Montreal’s the city where you stay contemporary and outgoing on your own desire. If you had wanted to feel romantic and gloomy and all that, Quebec City’s perfect for it. There’s a reason why it’s called the City of Eternal Lights - you could only imagine how many souls that have shone brightly and then died the very next day like a mayfly, in the late-1800s and early 1900s.

But this is Montreal. Montreal est à nous. Unlike the organised nature of streets and early urban planning in Quebec City, pavements move as if they are strands of humanity, and the roads various streams and rivers that forms the city an island of its own. The buildings that have been at the very forefront of the Industrial Revolution and the Quebecois Empire’s development pass, standing in an eerie parallax of past and present with their limestone and granite limbs standing the test of time.

Here in the Red Smoke, the canvas of the life of the Quebecois people, the ever-changing facades are something to savour. No matter how you put it forth, Quebec’s still one nation that attempts its best to coexist in all their colours and faiths, all Quebecois under the rain and the clouds of the summer, and the snow and the ice of the winter. That’s what has contributed to something wonderful, and that’s how they beat the Nazis of different colours and regions on three different occasions - Southern Rushmori War (1939-1945), Felixian Liberation War (2010-12), and the Conquest of the Holy Republican Empire (2017) - and kept the Commonwealth stable and together in this century of conflicts and regimes.

Anyways, he opened the drawer next to his bed and started reading the channel line-up, and started looking at the list of on-demand films available. Unfortunately this hotel didn’t have a lot of options available, but still he was able to find one film that caught his eyes named ‘The Last of Unfree Republics (URs)’. Finding it interesting enough, he got out of the bed, picked up the remote control placed right in front of the T.V. and then decided to watch it for the night.

At this pace, tonight should go by quietly and gently…




Asher Lundrigan was tired. It was as clear as it could get.

It was a quiet night. The movie, directed by Delaclavan director Ellen Janacek and starred another Delaclav muscular ‘daddi’ named Edmund Nash, turned out to be a solid B Movie. The Last of URs, being a film that aimed to merge cheap action, pornography, and lots of fighters, had had its own ups and downs as expected, but did just enough to keep his mood perky and up. They really should have spent more scenes and time on the silhouettes for that scene with 8 pilots on a bathouse, the night before the Unfree Republics were to meet their own demise, That’s one of the last thoughts Asher had in his mind, as he slowly calmed himself down, stared into the ceiling, and had a quiet night’s sleep.

Unfortunately, eating a smoked beef sandwich, watching an entertaining movie, and of course sleeping for a solid ten hours didn’t help him at all. Instead, Asher woke up feeling shitty as ever, and walked his way to the cafe downstairs with that mood.

Since then, a solid hour has passed. Now Asher was considering buying another cup of tea, but he also knew that this hotel’s cafe did not necessarily have the best morning tea. Having travelled from place to place for travel, he had gotten used to the notion of being a cafe frequenter, hotel night traveller and all that grime and ritz that came with it. That was something he didn’t have so much back when he was younger- the teenage Asher ran under a different state of mind anyway- but he was still finding this style of life adequate for a wretched being he saw himself as.

But if there’s one positive thing he found with the cafes in the middle of these business trips is that he could always watch people and how their lives rotate, almost as if they’re the subjects of his sociological experiments, in a downtown setting with just enough privacy and openness coexisting. That’s what he was doing as he waited for Plongeon to show up - he slowly checked his MyPhone and the latest notifications on the screen. There were few- mostly subscription emails that he deleted upon sight, and FaceBooke Messages that he placed on read, hoping that he could answer them immediately after the interview.

He knew this was a solid midway point for them to meet, as the studio, where the additional photoshoots by the Landslide Quebec staff were going to be taken for the Landslide International’s cover story, was only five minutes away. It also gave him a solid spot five minutes away from his hotel, which would give him short enough of a walk back in case he fucked up.

Asher knew he was not to hurry, for he knew to just nod along to the commonly raised suggestions of beauty sleep in people’s daily lives. Of course, he wasn’t a fan of such- he had long preferred to live and die by the pace and the daze of the night and wake up early just so he could come up with something crazy enough for the morning- but that wasn’t up to him anyway.

Still, the wait pained him enough to just lie and wander around, as he quietly thought back to the past. Of course he wished he could have employed a ghostwriter to conduct the interview, pay them few hundred bucks and take the credit, but such a suggestion wasn’t really something he had on his agenda either. Was he too desiring to see her after all this time? As much as he wanted to deny that fact, Asher also knew that his feelings were as fickle as some of his idols in literature, history and of course sports (he grew up cheering for Leonardo Conavacio, which should say enough to those who know the Quebecois football fans). So the only thing that he was left to do without getting fired was to just embrace the FOMO and go through the interview.

At least this ache should be just enough for me to start swiping right to these profiles tonight.

Still tired and disturbed, Asher really wasn’t feeling the mood he had wanted to feel. He knew he was being disingenuous by thinking about other girls he knew he had a realistic chance in trying his luck at, but he couldn’t help it. He knew enough of them were looking good enough, and as long as he was being careful enough to avoid those who may catch feelings to the ex-college athlete, then that gave him enough to anticipate for the remainder of the trip.

This was something that he really developed during his college days, sometime after breaking up with Eileen. He remembered how he, still sober even after a couple of litres of hard liquor, would simply go on and spend many nights in different house parties, few cheap nightclubs, and on beds of some stranger or a friend of a friend’s room. This was his form of rebellion, I guess, as he moved from the comfy, green-filled residential zones of Midtown Kingston and then to the Eternal City of Lights in Quebec City. It was fun, it was swell and even if this may have caused enough pains of his own then and now, and were just bad for him, he knew the fun-seeking half of him didn’t mind it at all.

But what if there’s the chance again?

He wondered exactly that, and just as he was about to sigh, a girl was approaching. He had secretly hoped she would look away from the flabby man that was him, but there was no need to worry about it. Eileen, the girl of her dreams, was too aware of Asher's habits and movements. Spotting him right away, giving a lean curve to the smile, she quickly made her way. She was approaching him, almost as if they were being transported back to that rainy afternoon in Quebec City again.

It was Eileen De Ramaut.

Like that she came back to his life, and now it seemed as if the stars themselves are aligning again, too unreal to be mortal but too real to be dead. He could not have believed that he was the lucky one back then - Well, Asher was still the one who went through all sorts of rumbles and tumbles. Yet, he felt that it was the opposite right now this beautiful, elegant lady well beyond his stature, would have been more proud of her journeys than he had over his twenty three years of life. Experience =/= Liking it.

'Hello, nice to meet you.' She slowly walked to the avenue, approaching him slowly and with all the time in the world. 'You must be from Landslide International?’

‘Absolutely, mademoiselle.’ Asher smiled, trying his best to look strong, as he tried to pick out his mental handbook where the Amendment 17 had said that he maintains all forms of professionalism in greetings and gestures when it comes to dealing with somebody from the past. ‘Asher Lundrigan. I had hoped that all’s been well with your album.’

Then, like that, the flicker in the candle flowered like a Quebecois fireflower that grew in the Tundras of the northeast. For it was her who brought it to me the first time. Eileen, she was the light of her soul, the goddess of his temple. His grail, his heart, that was Ey-lee-in that held. The lift of the tongue, followed by a light buzz, and then letting it go as if a gentle bird was flying over the sky. She may have been best remembered by many fans as Plongeon. She was known as Mille. De Ramaut on passport and guest lists. She was, of course, called Leanne. But somehow he kept calling her the same.

‘I heard lots of good things about it, and will be looking forward to the release in Quebec next week..’ He continued to say. ‘It’s once again, my- I mean, Landslide International’s privilege to be here with someone special for such a major interview session….’

He tried. He really did. But then it took five milliseconds of realisation that after all this time, that he couldn’t hold it back. The voice wasn’t responding to change the course, so he knew what he had previously set up was moot. Instead of reaching hand forward per normal greeting of a businessman-to-businessman, he briefly let the fuse loose and hugged her.

Then Asher seemed to wish to add something, but his voice wasn’t saying anything. The strength wasn’t there. He was only able to cry and cry and cry. So after a minute or two Asher, having recovered his energy and any semblance of a dam of broken feelings, he finally opened his mouth in a repetition cycle:

‘I’m so sorry...I’m so sorry...I’m so sorry…’

Asher knew this was like the very same setting from six years ago, when they had first met in a quiet, old-fashioned cafe in the heart of Quebec City. That afternoon, as Dr. Jurado had once said over an office hour sometime his junior year, was one of those occasions with highly Shambolic Quotient (SQ) and the rain. All the rain, the rain, the rain….




OOC : And with that, the first of many series has ended. I would like to thank Banija, Commonwealth of Baker Park, Delaclava, The Grearish Union, Huayramarca, Krytenia, Siovanija and Teusland, Tequilo, The Sherpa Empire, Tikariot, Vdara and Zeta Reka and Hugeltaldom for reading it over at various points this series, as well as other supporters of the series.
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:27 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Tue Aug 11, 2020 7:52 am

Auld Lang Syne
PART 1 (12) Closer
Tournament : World Cup of Hockey XL & Summer Olympics XIV


Perhaps too perfect of a day.

The interview went very well. Perhaps too well, as Asher thought to himself. After how awkward they greeted for the first time in five years, and how both sides briefly tried to make things formal (with little success), things went as expectedly so. Eileen, or should we say Plongeon in this case, said to him that this album, titled Summerlea, was a 16-track album that she had been working on for past four years, and had hoped that this album’s going to culminate in a good balancing point between various genres of interest, from indie pop and indie folk to country and slight elements of traditional Quebecois music.

Could be a smash hit or just a minor whimper that gets remembered as an underrated album of the decade when we all get old. Asher thought, as he wrote it out.

After the interview, and the dinner at a nearby restaurant, it was already seven in the evening. Eileen wanted him to walk back to her place and spend few days in the city as friends, but he had to decline. He knew he had to go, stay in his hotel, and then head back to Quebec City either saturday or sunday. Instead, they decided to take a walk along the old Port, and just let the feeling slowly seep into the night.

So they walked, walked and walked like in the old days, ‘til they could barely do so. The next thing they saw, they were right at the lakeshore, separated by several levels of the breakwater structures that had been around in various forms since the 1600s. Located at the heart of Downtown Montreal, the old Pier was somewhat packed for a Maytime evening, but just enough to the point where Eileen and Asher could just get by fine enough without ending up on a tabloid. Even so, Asher made sure to wear a dark mask, with his right arm tied with her left arm. They were smiling, half tired, half delightful, as they just enjoyed the view of the Fleuve Saint-Henri along the Old Port. The night was cool and charming enough, with every other tree shining with night lights installed by the Port Authority of Montreal. They were just smiling along, enjoying each other’s presence as if nothing had happened before.

This is comforting, however soon I have to wake up from it… He thought, as they decided to sit on a bench. Facing against the water, and with all the nerves in the world, he slowly inhaled. By this point, he had long let go of all the restraints and the medicaments he had held until the previous night. The entire evening, all he could try to get himself to think was to push himself to man up, to kiss her. He knew the thought itself shouldn’t be too hard, especially with how many times he had kissed her before, and then lots of other girls too. He knew that only the past and his present non-committal were the only ones drawing him back from it all, and so were a little bit of alcohol that they both had over dinner.

Right next to Asher, Eileen was somewhat thinking along the same lines. But then, there too stood nerves for her, as too was coming from an unfamiliar situation. What if I fuck it up? was something that she had in mind, as she just looked at him, somewhat fatter and lot bleaker since they had first met in high school. Growing up in her country town, on famed Coxwell Park and its estates, she had been trying to find her own self and directions within a career. A minor breakup after a couple of years dating had been on her mind. It was somewhat of a factor, and they were both feeling tired, but she could hear the buzz in the sky. Like a swallow gliding down the sky, it progressively grew louder, louder and louder until she closed her eyes and he kissed her.

Oh no…

What am I doing?


That’s what both sides thought, as they closed their eyes trying not to look at one another. As with any kiss involving two ex-partners who had a little bit of alcohol two hours earlier, it started awkwardly on a bench. Then they, ignoring the presence of bystanders, just went along and tasted the alcohol and the tears of years apart. Slowly struggling to find the right angle, they just went along with however awkward the situation they were in was, before they realised that they should leave.




I wish I could stay…

Now, they were standing in front of Eileen’s flat, located just north of St-Laurent station and south of the Koreana West District that had been known as the artisans’ workplaces and homes, but since been taken up by art businesses along with the booming economy in the 1990s and 2000s. There, Asher and Eileen had one last minute to themselves before he was to head back to his hotel room for the night.

‘Stay safe, Eileen.’ He said, looking into her eyes as they stood two metres apart from each other. ‘Don’t worry about the cover story. I’ll send you a copy when I’m home.’

‘It’s all good! Please text me when you get home, Ash.’ Eileen said, trying to remind him not to forget. One of the downsides in being busy professionals off to their own thing in their lives is that people forget when to text, when to call and when to just think of one another. ‘Sleep well before you head back home.’ Eileen said with a small grin on a Friday night.

Asher thought for a second, before gathering his thoughts together. He was unsure but couldn’t bear to just head back. ‘I’m sorry...about that.’ He said, before slowing down. ‘I know I shouldn’t have kissed you, when we are on the pier-’

‘No, it’s all good.’ She responded. ‘We get affected by a place or where we are and sometimes, it happens like that.’ Then she opened the door to her flat, trying to signal him to go back to the hotel and sleep it off for the night. ‘Sleep well.’

Don’t go...Don’t go...Don’t Go…

Then like that, she was out of his life again, and Asher started to walk back.




Asher Lundrigan looked out the window of his hotel room, his mind transfixed upon what had just happened today. On the surface, he was happy to be back in Montreal, and his conversations, which were safely transcribed to his interview piece for next edition's cover, and now all's going to be more than just fine. He had done the job that his boss at Landslide International had asked, was going to get an extra few thousands for all the pain he had gone through to do the interview, and gonna have a happy walk to the bank in a month's time.

With everything coming along as expectedly so, and with him not really telling people why he was heading back, he had the rest of the night and early tomorrow to spare, before he was to head back to Quebec City. At least this had meant that he would be having a bit of gentler sleep, hopefully filled with loftier and sweeter dreams, as if they were made of cotton candy.

But then, what had happened inside him did strike clearly enough. In such a short time, he had gone from just denying the fifteen months Eileen had spent inside his heart, bent on not seeing her again, to breaking down inside his hotel room thinking about the kiss.

How did this all happen?

He thought of how they had first met, and found himself thinking back to the very afternoon they had met once again. It was on a magical Friday afternoon, where the nation's capital was struck with an odd dose of freezing March rain. For the city that's known for its words of snow and ice, it was an unusual occurrence, where everything just felt eerie, freezing and, all in all, out of sync. The famous words, to quote dozens of royal historians across the multiverse, say that this was around when Jacques IX, whose monarchical strength was largely spent in the military glories of his twenties, caught a severe cold from a night of polo. That escalated quickly into pneumonia followed by a series of serious illnesses that limited the late monarch's life for much of the last 5 yrs of his reign. But to Asher, this was the spring they had first met, almost as if they themselves were the symbol of a new age. The Catherinian Era that would be remembered in the future as the era of neo-romanticism, and the elegance and passion that came up with each other.
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Wed Aug 12, 2020 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:41 am

Auld Lang Syne
PART 2 (13) Dancing On My Own


Now it was 11 in the evening and Asher was already in bed. He could not fall asleep, but he couldn’t clear his mind either. His eyes were slowly following along what had happened that evening, and in some ways the air was still heavy enough for him to stay firmly in the bed.

RING! RING!

It was right around then when his phone rang. Remembering that his phone was in that small table right next to his bed, Asher rolled his body sideways and picked up his phone.

‘Lundrigan here.’ He responded.

‘Good evening, Asher. This is Myeong-Shin. How are you doing?’

Why this late? That’s the first question that came up inside Asher’s mind. Myeong-Shin may be a twenty-five year old star, but he’s normally not up this late. He always preferred, after signing all the autographs post-match, to go to bed early when he’s playing a home series in Kingston, and the Tigers were in the middle of a 12-game homestand.

‘Good...good…’ Asher said. ‘Why did you call? It’s late for you, especially ahead of a weekend series.’

‘Can you cover as MC for the Alumni Banquet this Monday by any chance? Hafferty’s supposed to be doing the job, but he fell ill and you just happened to be in the country.’

‘How did you know?’ Asher assumed that there were two possible explanations behind why Asher ended up in Montreal, and why the call had to happen only an hour or two (who remembers time anyway?) after what it seemed like hours of pure magic, where the butterflies fluttered and all the bones inside his body seemed to have turned into jello. One would be Myeong-Shin finding it out from Myeong-Yoon, his friend no. 1 and always, or the other being that his footballer brother Frank, who just signed with PSV Marzig of Siovanija and Teusland. Being the usual skeptic of a slightly socially reclusive brother (by his standards, not an average person's), he had assumed former to be likelier of the case, but really that wasn’t on his radar.

‘Not saying. Not the most important part anyway.’ was what Myeong-Shin said on the other end of the phone. ‘Anyways, I do owe you something and you do owe people something, so why don’t we go back to old days and celebrate it at a celebration banquet for a few of our olympians? Being an unusual year and whatnot where we have so many repping the colours!'

He nodded. It was indeed a good time for him to return to Kingston and maybe see few things here and there. Having lived there for around a decade, he held special feelings to the city but rarely returned since he got into USC, his brother Sageuany Tech and eventually parents returned to Quebec City. No wonder it seemed right to see how the things were going nowadays.

Hockey was in yet another year of frenzy there - Kingston Knights had just prevailed over Montreal Calaniens on Western Conference Quarterfinals on a dramatic reverse sweep- but other teams were coming along nicely as well and Asher knew this was going to be a good time to come just to watch the balloons of hometown fans grow from April to June.

‘But why me? I’m sure we have enough alumni this time around, unlike our schoolboy days.’

‘Well, you see. Everybody’s convinced by what you wrote to Kingston Star about our school, and the joy and all that. Apparently the Erskine Foundation folks were happy about it, and so were Naomi. May as well bring the best guy on board eh?’




A week ago..

Kingston Star : Voice of the Southwest

AVENUE MAGIC : How a Midtown Kingston school ended up with multiple Olympians


ASHER C. LUNDRIGAN

KINGSTON, FRONTENAC-- When you grow up in nice, duplex-filled neighbourhoods with many hockey rinks and gyms that hold enough school-aged children all year long such as Midtown Kingston in Southwestern metropolis, there is a very high chance you’d get easier access before their grade school journeys.

That’s how Yolanda Mansaré grew up, playing in the famed Riley Jeon-Keane Gym, first as a young club basketballer, and later as the starting guard of the Banijan women’s national basketball team.

Stories like Yolanda’s is something that people in Midtown Kingston have long gotten used to, but it is in some ways one of the unique matters that have catapulted Erskine Collegiate and its alumni as a whole to international success. As one of the 18 public schools in the 34-school League of Ancient Schools, Erskine Collegiate has been long beneficiary of the prestige that comes with its high standard and the Midtown area the school resides in. The neighbourhood facilities and the community support, having been there for centuries, fuel what has been an unbelievable cycle.

Fascinatingly enough, Erskine has won qualified at least an alumnus in every Summer Olympics and the Quebecois Commonwealth Games the northwestern-AO nation had participated since 1986 Quebec City Commonwealth Games. Of Erskine’s 11 Olympians and 28 Commonwealthians in that span, 17 involved a form of stick, from baseball and fencing to both forms of hockey. This Summer Olympics should feature six Erskinians who have qualified for Quebec and Banija in Basketball (women’s 5-on-5), Baseball, Fencing (women’s Epee) and Field Hockey (women).

‘There’s something special we do have in the fields here,’ nodded Mansaré, now playing in CSKA Quebec and Banijan women after a collegiate career with Northern Moravica University in her homeland.

And it’s not just the famous baseball team, the producer of 57 alumni into the QBO ranks, or the hockey team, that boasts World Cup of Hockey 26-winning goaltender Sir. Alexandre Browne-Hahm, who played a role in Quebecois prominence here. If anything, their renowned presence in the olympian alumni have played a greater role as the school’s athletic profile rebounded from a slight slump in the 2000s and 2010s.

Of course, having a decently sized scene and large number of collegiate programs in Ontario and Frontenac provinces, as well as South Detroit, certainly help with the appeal and the development of the prospects in fencing, but Erskine does have a particular advantage in its training venue: the specific gym their fencing and archery teams had been sharing since late 1980s.

Ahn Family Gym, located besides but separately from the Riley Jeon-Keane Gym that Erskine CI uses for basketball and volleyball, on top of regular phys-ed classes, was one of the few specific fencing gyms in the country when it was first created in 1987. Created in time for the teams’ founding under the late maitre d’arms, a longtime physics teacher named Hong Nam-Cheol, it was refurbished and expanded in 2007, 2021 and 2038, and has hosted annual invitationals for 57 uninterrupted years. It was there that 23-year old Jo Se-Gyeong, Erskine fencing program’s first Olympian and fifth Commonwealthian, quickly developed her prospects.

When Jo was growing up in nearby Forest Hill neighbourhood, she and her family lived on a small, basement apartment where there was just enough space to put a desk for herself, and she had to work the summers to pay for full year’s discounted fees at Kingston Fencing Club. So getting into Erskine Collegiate, the only public high school program in the Kingston District School Board- two private schools, Kingston Grammar and Kingston Collegiate School, offer programs, and Kingston Grammar’s a single-sex school as well- proved to be a huge lifesaver for her and her family.

For Jo, who was already a regular podium winner at the time, prospects of high school fencing just ten minutes bus ride away was a huge deal. The location, just five minute walk away from Kylington station, was perfectly situated to catch bus and subway rides. There it was where Jo quickly came to focus on both academics and athletics, and aim for both collegiate and post-collegiate options.

‘It was a huge relief to go to a local public school, where your parents didn’t have to worry so much about tuition and you could still afford to play what appears to be an expensive sport on the surface,’ Jo, who eventually fenced for Northwestern University in Attawapiskat, and nowadays fences for the Royal Quebecois Army fencing team, said.

Ballhandling Olympians and Commonwealthers from Erskine have delivered their share of success as well. Basketball legend Riley Jeon-Keane started in 2024 Aeropag and 2030 Novonaya and Provinsk Games, as well as four consecutive Commonwealth Games (2022 Ōtautahi to 2042 Istria), in the middle. Jeon-Keane, who also competed in five IBC teams, helped Royal Kingdom of Quebec win a silver and a bronze in IBCs, and 4/4 Commonwealth Golds, as well as an olympic fourth-place finish in the 2030 Novonaya and Provinsk Games.

As we have already seen with the case of many renowned Erskine alumni, Jeon-Keane’s introduction to her sport came from local parks. Growing up in Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, where Siovanijan legend Zvezdana Lavriè moved there in 2013 after a 12 year career with CSKA Quebec, she came to embrace the sport earlier. It was then that she had noticed a particular tradition with giving back, even as they may have moved onto higher levels and broader reaches. That’s something that the kids in the Kingston Zvezda club continued to do so after all.

‘I was part of the first year cohort as an eight year old, and there were about fourteen of us- 8 boys, 6 girls,’ Jeon-Keane said. ‘Five of us got full-rides and two made it to the pros. And then that’s where the story began.’

Until this Olympics, Jeon-Keane was the only basketball player from Erskine to qualify for the Olympics. Erskine has also sent one handball player - Amira Bhuttar in 2002 Commonwealth Games- and Ji Yong-Seob won the gold medal in men’s team archery in Novonaya and Provinsk.

But sticks have always dominated the scene for Erskine. Erskine’s Commonwealth and Olympic streak began with Hannah Eady ‘81, who was the goalkeeper of the gold medalist field hockey team in the 1986 Quebec City Games. Eady, who played 14 years with St. John’s Raiders before a chiropractic career, was the first of many Erskine graduates who have shone on field hockey.

Foilist Christopher and Epeeist Felix Ahn were other Erskine graduates who made the midtown school their second home. It was there that the locals, who eventually went to Queen’s College coached by legendary William Yi (a non-alum, but longtime guest there as a friend of another coaching legend and Erskine alum, Sir. Philippe Ahn), 13th Duke of Bathurst. Having represented the Grim Reapers since their years at Queen's College post-graduation, they have won 5 gold medals in 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games when they both competed with each other, with Felix adding 3 more for 2010, 14 and 18 games.

Then there was Mansaré, who carved a special name for the alma mater. Mansaré blinked a little when she had to decide between Erskine and neighbouring powerhouse Northbrook Secondary. Playing as the ‘swingman’ spot on the two and the three (more two than three), Erskine won three Ontario-Frontenac provincials during her time as a Redwoman in the post-RJK regeneration of basketball talent.

The summer after her graduation, she had joined both the Banijan national women’s team (being a natural dual-citizen and whatnot) and Northern Moravica University team in 2041, eventually facing the Quebecois women in the 2042 Commonwealth Games final held in none other than Istria, Banija. After a Banijan championship there, she returned to Quebec where she was selected in the first round by none other than CSKA Quebec, where she’s been playing since.

Of course, the tradition continues because people know the stakes and expectations that come with being a Redman/Redwoman. Every summer, Riley Jeon-Keane follows the step of her club and high school coach by giving back to the Kingston community with her summer training camps with the goal centred around building up the prospects on regional and national level, on what’s already a basketball hotbed in Greater Kingston Area..





‘Well I guess. Good to hear that those daddy powers liked my article and whatnot.’ Asher responded. ‘But what favours do I owe you this time? I assume this is one of those...’

‘No, no, no, Asher,’ came up over the phone call. The high pitch of Myeong-Shin’s voice was particularly noticeable there. ‘This doesn’t come as a favour. I just think it’s best for you to do a good job repping red and grey as expected. It’d also be lovely to see you again- it’s been about two years, no?’

‘Indeed, indeed. Not always common that we have those situations bumping up and down,’ Asher said, his awkward phrasing notwithstanding. ‘Anyways, so it’s this Monday. Can you get me a Tigers-Lions ticket for this Sunday then.’

‘Of course! Dad doesn’t come to home games as often since he moved to Quebec City, and Naomi’s out of town. Said she had some errands to run on the old orchard in Queen City up north. Heard that the apples are starting to ripen nicely out there….’

‘Sounds good.’ Asher nodded in agreement. ‘Heard that the apples are starting to ripening nicely up northeast, so I assume this is even more the case in the southwest and all that.’

‘Whose place are you going to be staying? Myeong-Yoon’s out of town ‘til Sunday night and whatnot.’

Oh, right… Asher sighed on the inside. Having been outside the diamond for over a year now, he started to forget that the road trips were a pure b***h. He didn’t mind them when he was in high school or college, but boy, were they still long. At least he didn’t have to go through them on fixed timetables. ‘Probably a hotel. Not asking to stay over at a friend’s place this late.’

‘Yeah, think a bit on that. You know, drinks and whatnot.’

‘See you tomorrow then, Myeong-Shin.’

‘See you. Thanks a ton for all this- you’re doing us so much favou-’

And then he hang up the cellphone.




...Two of her first trainees, three years apart, were Grim Reapers’ starting point guard Heo Myeong-Yoon and Yolanda Mansaré, then aged 11 and 14. Mansaré said that’s another major element that ties into Erskinian success of late: alumni coming back to give when asked, and the families seeing the promise of coming to a balanced school per se, where you know you’ll come back there because you have succeeded in all facets of life.

A perfect example are that of the legendary Heo siblings, whose father, Dong-Soo, moved to Kingston as a history and comparative literature professor at University of Kingston. Having fenced a legendary career with His Majesty’s School in Montreal and then Queen’s College before injuries forced early retirement, he saw the value in moving to right areas, right schools and whatnot, especially given the expectation to succeed academically as well.

‘You see the value in investment. The why factor,’ Mansaré explained this, partly with the Heos in reference. ‘I think that's ultimately why they do attract kids from all over GKA and also the Southwest. Academics do play a huge factor for admissions with lots of parents, because they want their kids to succeed in life beyond athletics, and also because they know they could trust the school and whatnot.'

With this in mind, the school and the community, in turn, aim to give back even more with upgrades to municipal and collegiate facilities.

Kingston City Council, in a resounding 38-11 vote, passed through the Redevelopment Plan for the Clyde Park Community Centre last month. The proposed design includes addition of a third, outdoor Olympic-sized pool, an underground hockey arena that’s serviceable all year long, and other amenities that were viewed by many as ‘critically in need’ due to the state of the Centre that last saw a major redevelopment in 2014.

Various alumni, led by prominent donors such as Browne-Hahm, went forward with enough funds to avoid further financial investment than the preexisting minimum stated by the City Council. While the construction is expected to be held off until October and likely not completed until two years from now, Erskine, Northbrook and Forest Hill schools should be able to more than cover the need faced by the community programs in the meantime.

Given the use of the Community Centre, this surprises few and certainly not the locals, who understand the values of the centre in a congregation of kids from various neighbourhoods.

‘It’s always an honour to get back to the community when asked,’ Sir. Alexandre said of the news. ‘Hopefully we’ll see exciting times continue. We’ve already seen some phenomenal news here and there with six Erskinians making it, and we hope the success will continue with our kids and other schoolchildren for years to come.’





16:30, The very next day...

‘우리열차는 킹스턴으로 가는 벨로 열차입니다. 열차가 곧 출발합니다. 가지고 계신 승차권을 확인해 주시길 바랍니다. Welcome aboard to the Velo train bound for Kingston. The train will soon be departing. Please make sure you have the correct ticket…..’

Still feeling all the gravity and the pace of change around him, Asher didn’t move around his seat, finding himself in an easy form of slumber. He still had his earphones on, but without any music, he could still have more than enough on the train announcements. Most of the passengers on the Car no. 3 were coming from either the gentry or the commoner of all skin colours and heritage. They minded to their own business, little affected by others around him.

The Velo train, on the Honam Line that he had taken at least dozens of times before. He felt as if everything were just falling through the cracks, all the coincidences met, and the untold trying to tell stories, and all that. It was almost as if he were in the olympics, even though Concord Heights Times wouldn’t send him for coverage until late August.

And like that, the sweet air is replaced by the familiar…
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:51 am

Auld Lang Syne
PART 3A (14) - Malhari


황제배 Semifinals - Game 1
The Shinil School 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 4
Westlake School 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 X 6

황제배 Semifinals - Game 2
Erskine CI 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 6
Yongma CTI 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 4


This is fucking awesome.

That's what Asher Lundrigan thought to himself, as he collected his thoughts at the bottom of the 9th inning of a crucial semifinals match, on the first of three chances Erskine CI were to receive this Spring and Summer.

For those not as well versed with Quebecois high school baseball, it's straightforward - five national championships (OOC: see Spring and Summer Koshiens, but spread across five tourneys instead of two), in which a school is eligible to qualify for up to three, with the spots given via a quota given through provincial championships and via additional committee selections. This had all in all meant that it would be very hard for a school to win two, let alone three, national championships.

So when the national high school season started earlier this week with 황제배 신고려 고교전국야구대회 (His Majesty's Quebec and Shingoryeo National High School Baseball Championship), the anticipation of a possible triple had brought everybody to the air over excitement. It had only happened twice before- Gyeongnam Collegiate in 1948 and Gyeongbuk Collegiate in 1971, and of course none since then, and with a squad that had six prospects on the QBO scouts radar (2 seniors, 3 juniors, and a sophomore), it was going to draw all the hype and excitement.

Some of us expect to reach greater heights. Others, we would cherish these memories and hey could perhaps hold onto bragging rights, if all works out. That's what he thought as the season started.

Well, it worked out pretty nicely for the team. Unfortunately, this isn't so much the case for Asher as he had to slowly deal with a minor thigh injury that affected him all tournament. He wasn't having as many issues blocking the ball and preventing steals, but it was hitting the ball he had issues with. Normally he'd be hitting a five, six or seven, but on matches he was batting, he would be practically at eight or nine, the part that's complicated by Myeong-Shin usually hitting three or four even on days he pitched. In the Quebecois high school baseball where there is no designated hitter rule, that would have been problematic on a smaller squad with no alternative options.

Anyways, Asher was still happy to be here. While he was unable to play in the semifinals due to an injury, Asher was still happy to be in the dugout on a fairly familiar position for him: backup catcher who would start mostly when Heo Myeong-Shin was pitching. Asher had already played enough role on his own when he played well enough on the quarterfinals against 7-time champion ES-Deoksoo, and did land himself a couple of mentions on newspaper as the designated catcher for the number one Quebecois prospect that year.

The Redmen head coach, Sung Joon-Yeol, chose to split the innings between Asher and the starting catcher, Mira Cho-Lawson in his senior year, for the high school baseball season that lasts from mid-February to early July, and Asher had managed to find enough playing time on left field when asked here and there as well. This move worked very well for the year, especially with how Myeong-Shin had performed with his longtime summer league partner on the battery of love, and thousands of baseball fans across the country began speculating about how this may be Erskine Redmen's year and how they could possibly win three national championships this spring-summer season.

Still, this wasn't a bad position to be as a junior catcher and he was happy to not have committed a crucial error all tournament long. So, he only had to rely upon all the hopesn possible. Playing in Parc des Dauphins, the home to Quebecois amateur baseball, all the excitement was in the air. Having started on an overcast day at 4:00 p.m., now it was around 7:30 p.m., as the light flurries of snow were forming around the stadium.

At the bottom of the ninth inning, Erskine CI Redmen was up 6-4 over Yongma CTI Partizans, but nothing was set at all. The team scored a couple of runs on top of the inning with Samuel Carlini-Mwambutsya (2B) , Heo Myeong-Shin (SS), and Arabella Hannon (RF) hitting a triple, a double and a two-run home run to give Erskine a nice three-point cushion. But then things unexpectedly turned wild when it started to rain- with the game being played in middle of a cold, winter rain that was uncharacteristic of Quebec City in early March, the stadium's diamonds started to feel wet. A couple of unexpected fielding errors then followed with a hit, and now their three-point cushion, fairly comfortable in essence, turned into a rather iffy two-point lead.

Of course, you could still hear the fans from both Kingston and Saint John-Habpo (widely known as 'Twin Cities') with their instruments, ranging from Kkwaenggwari to Vuvuzelas, on board. They wanted to make the best of exciting times, especially now that Erskine had changed pitchers. With the winner set to play the prep powerhouse Westlake School Wanderers the very next day, all the buzz was coming in the air as what looked to be the final inning was going on. The situation was a simple 1 out, with runner at first and third base, but a single could easily turn the tide. Everybody was looking at the dugout, and the pitching coach gave him a couple of hand signs that indicated that he wanted Gaugin Jones, the junior submarine who was the team's closer that year, to pitch a sinker. Jones, being a wild spirit he were, shook his head once to the left, as the team looked to see what his choice were.

'MMMMM,' the umpire shouted as Jones landed a clean slide to the right corner, with their leadoff swinging wildly at it.

'Let's go!', shouted Darryl Wochnowski, senior bullpen who was substituted for him. 'You can do it, Gaugey!'

'YES YOU CAN!, ' responded Asher. 'We fucking do this!'

'No you can't!' shouted one of the Yongma infielders from the dugout, almost seemingly there to establish invitation for a verbal match between them.

'STRIKE-OUT!'
'We gonna make it! You won't stop us!'
'NA NA NA NA, NA NA NA NA, HEY HEY HEY, GOODBYE-'
'용마의 전설들이여- 무학산을 넘어서 항구로 가자-'
'비내리는 호남선, 남행열차에-'
'RFR#JFRf3r! FR#GKGk~~'
'&*^**(((((^^$#??? DKGGRGKF!!!'

Then followed more shouts and talk-backs, with few chants inserted between both sides, as they tried to gauge the atmosphere in their respective favour.

The second pitch, yet another slider, fell short by a bit. An easy ball. Everybody knew he was playing a strip-tease- Gaugin had a particular way of just letting the pitch count go, but ultimately know when to land a crucial strike.

This ***** is pitching like this again, Asher thought to himself, as he wandered around a bit. He knew that the third pitch, however it goes, was gonna be a key one. Everybody knew that for Gaugin, the most important pitch was going to be the third. If it works, it works. If not, the left-handed batter would quickly slug it and make everybody's heartstrings bit tense. So while he didn't smoke, he had still wished that he still had that round of e-cigarettes that he left back in the hotel room.

Ting!

Fortunately he didn't have to worry so much. And like that, the ball slowly flew to the left side of the infield. Fortunately, the defensive shift was set up so that Myeong-Shin, who quickly adjusted and sidestepped to the left, caught the ball and passed to the second baseman Samuel Carlini-Mwambutsya. Then, like that, it was an easy sequence of play, as he threw the ball sideways on a running throw. Of course, the Yongma second baseman would try to reach the first base, but he wasn't fast enough and Bahng Geon-Hyeok would easily catch the ball on the first base, to complete the double play.

They had the win, and once again, the Kingston-area school survived a tough test that they had long expected from Yongma Commercial and Technical Institute. Now, as the favoured squad went out of the dugout, shook the hands of their opponents and watched the fervid atmosphere of the Parc Jamsil be even more heated at a rate of a global warming, Asher felt one step closer to winning a title that Asher had dreamed of before, and how everything seemed to come at the best in middle of the rain. He's always known the power of these congregations, and the opportunity to play in what he hoped to be the first of many finals to come...dearly excited him.
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:10 pm

Auld Lang Syne

PART 4A (15) - Boogie Wonderland
Competition: Summer Olympics XIV


‘Congratulations everybody. We did it. I know you were all excited about winning this for the home crowd, and I can say now that we did it. I know you all wanted the Marching Band, the Spirit Squad (author’s note: Erskine’s version of cheerleading squad, but on a lot smaller scale) and even get the alumni to come tomorrow ready for that one big shot against the bad, prep school boys from Westlake School. So I’m going to say that we will have a nice dinner outside, and call no practice session at 9:00 p.m. Those of you who wish to practice, feel free to let me know so we can find a couple of practice ranges and slug or fungo it away however long you wish to. But if you don’t want to, that’s fine because I think you all deserve a good night’s rest,’ said coach Sung Joon-Yeol, who decided to say a bit more to his players, before clapping back at them. ‘Good job everybody.’

A round of applause followed, but then everybody quickly calmed down when Heo Myeong-Shin, the team captain, stepped forward and moved to the centre. Asher was not one bit surprised at this- he knew that the Myeong-Shin was very much his father’s son in that he loved to say something big.

‘One more win to go, my fuckers,’ Myeong-Shin said, excitement filling him to the very brim. ‘But this isn’t it. If you think we’re gonna just squeeze by and beat those Westlake fuckers with godforsaken ease, you’re damn fucking wrong. I’m going to say that this is our year and that Erskine Redmen will win all three- 황제배, 은단풍기 and 황금사자기- and head into the summer with the wankiest of wanks and rowdiest of the rods. You heard me - this is our fucking year to do it!’

‘DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!’ The men and women chanted in response, ready to explode at one point as if a crude oil tanker in the middle of the desert. Asher was of course one of them, as they moved forward. He looked over his comrades that gathered around each other, reaching for that glory that had eluded them the year before, and finding it.

‘We're gonna smash them. We're gonna crush them. We will make sure they won’t say anything again. Listen to what I say here,’ Myeong-Shin continued. ‘For some of us, this is not the end. We already have college offers figured out. But that’s not the point of why the fuck we fucking fighting for. The seniors and juniors- we’ve been all here before and have fallen short last year. Won once the year before, but we barely scraped our way through that time. This year, it’s gonna be different and you know why?’

Nobody said anything at first, until Aubrey Henderson, senior outfielder from East End of Kingston, continued. The coaches just watched in delight on the side, delegating this moment for the players and the players only. ‘The fate tells us so for those coming after,’ said Aubdrey. ‘This summer will also be for you, juniors and sophs. Eight of us here may be off somewhere, whether it be at South Bend, Cornwall or just down the road at UofK, but this is more for you. Iron sharpens iron.’

‘You say that it’s not easy, and that’s true,’ commented Mira Cho-Lawson, the starting catcher, on a particularly nasal voice. While normally a skeptic, it was about time that the Universite de Montreal commit joined the scene for once. ‘But what if we could do it? If we all gather our powers together and stand together, we’ll do it. WE-WILL-WIN-THIS. God said so, mamma said so, daddi said so.’

‘REDMEN!
‘AYE!’

‘REDWOMEN!’
‘HURRAH!’

’승리! 천하불패!’

‘전국제패! 전국제패! 전국제패! 전국제패! 전국제패!
전국제패! 전국제패! 전국제패! 전국제패! 전국제패!’

And of course, all that the stadium staff could hear from outside were a bunch of noises.




23:00, R Hotel Place-Saint-Henri, Quebec City

After each and every team match, it was tradition for few members of the Erskine alumni to partake in team dinner. It would normally be nothing major, usually on a major Korean-Quebecois restaurants that either involved lots of meat or seafood. Sometimes there would be solid buffet places they’d rent it alongside other schools (though never with Northbrook SS, their ‘rivals’ though they shouldn’t consider their neighbours as one). Of course, Asher and Myeong-Shin were among two actively enjoy these moments of all expenses paid joy, and enjoy quality time with those who had been through this before.

Not all may have been part of the team, or even on sports, but they still hold the pride. Even more than the prep kids, sometimes, Asher thought to himself, as he enjoyed the meat buffet selections in the table.

Now, back on their hotel room, the night before the final match, the boys were back in their hotel rooms. Since 2022, the Erskine Redmen baseball team had always used the same hotel, a R Quebec City hotel that was situated just down the corner from the Place-Saint-Henri, just 5 mins walk away from Parc Jamsil. The hotel, being under the R system, was one of those boutique hotels that had eccentric mixes of neon lights, trendiest art nouveau furnitures and of course the on-site DJ at the lobby.

As Myeong-Shin closed the door and went back to the hotel room, the team captain wasn’t surprised to see Asher glued to his phone. It was March on a rainy night, and there was nothing exciting for the bunch of sixteen year olds to do unless they had a fake ID. Of course, they both did have fake I.D.s, but the disguise would have been too obvious for the boys if they had reached the clubs, just like the signs of Spring that sometimes came but would normally have to wait a lot longer before really breaking free from the ice and the snow.

Myeong-Shin was at least lucky the downstairs swimming pool happened to be open until midnight, so his body was there for a couple of hours. Of course, his heart wasn’t there- that’s still back in Kingston with his girlfriend, a volleyball prospect at a nearby Brightstone Hall named Naomi Goldbloom- but that’s not the point. He winked a few times at a couple of gorgeous women he had to resist, outswim a couple of elderly who would have recognised him outside, and just spend his own time in his own world for once.

And now that he’s back, Myeong-Shin knew something was gonna happen. He just knew it. Fuck me. Not this again,Asher thought over the back of his head. He was gonna ask something about Le Baccalaureat Quebecois now that they’re in Quebec City, and it would probably lead into something academics, academics, something admissions, something admissions.

'So how's prepping up for Bac going? Need any help?' Myeong-Shin asked, poking fun at the natural in Asher who didn’t really do much as expected.

'Naw,' said Asher, still watching an l’Instagramme story of a classmate of some Spring Break stuff in Acadiana. Lucky she already there having all the sun, Asher said to himself before responding. 'I think I'll keep my head rested and maybe call it a day. Probably watch some ClockTalk videos and ponder. Homework's already done and midterms are still a month away.'

And like that, he was caught in a trap of just random tease. Of course, Myeong-Shin knew how to tease him over his lack of effort at times, and Asher was more than aware he had intended no harm. Still, this was coming and he couldn’t help but to just embrace it. 'Bruh. You sure? If you aren't studying, then maybe you should be busy going outside, enjoying things and maybe even try to connect up with buncha chicks at USC. Why don't we head down and maybe hit up the clubs? Probs with a fake or two. What are you planning to study at St. Croix anyway?'

'PPE or History..It would probably be the most natural paths, since I'm used to learning about things in old buildings and plaques,' said Asher. Once again, the same ole testing method. Myeong-Shin, being that longtime friend and mentor of his, had long known about what Asher wanted to study, and how Myeong-Shin would sometimes be his listener for Ms. Kranic’s family studies or Mr. Eisenstein’s AO history presentations. Of course he would sound rude more often than not, a natural feature he had received from his father, but Asher knew Myeong-Shin really took time to listen and give critical feedbacks, and that Myeong-Shin only had best intentions in heart for his protegee.

'Of course, not a lot of time to study for either, when we have the title to play for tomorrow, when we have two more right after and on top of all the commitments and the roll calls...It's a lot. Of course, going to Erskine does mean a lot in Quebec City or Montreal but man, it's on another scale.'

'You'll get used to it by your senior year. The alumni and the parents have high standards because public school quality varies quite a lot in KDSB. Like look at Northbrook kids down the road: they ain't worth the scrap. Lang Park, Erskine and probably 3-4 are decent enough to get enough sent to USC, so that's why there's a bit more pride for them. Pride of the Honam, as they would proudly refer,' said Myeong-Shin, beaming in pride. He’s used to being compared to his father, a proud man from His Majesty’s School before a celebrated sabre career at Queen’s College and the national team, and just found this natural. Of course, this had turned off some, but that wasn’t really on either of their concerns. 'Of course, it's a lot easier said than done to keep things going, but it's been done before. You hear stories of legends, whose alma mater bricks have graced the walls of the old courtyard. Their pride lives in you, they do live in us.'

'Got it. So you're saying that we stay proud, truthful and may get into a bit more capitolian swagger though it's actually Queen's College or Saguenay that are prone to this.'

'Of course...not!' Myeong-Shin chuckled. 'I'm sure you know the interviewers at St. Croix are taking no BS from you just because you feel like saying what you wanna say. These people are old-minded, just like my grandpa. They've failed enough commits and recruits from the admission process in past because they don't believe in the perks of being a student-athlete. That's why you rarely see USC getting skilled players, and the same goes to places like Saguenay or even Queen's. Think of your ticket as a privilege and not a ticket. Don't forget that only thirty-two seniors got into USC this year, and that's probably the highest in what- four, five years. I know you can do it- that's why you're my catcher anyway,' Myeong-Shin nodded.

Asher nodded, feeling very much the same on the nuance implied. Not easy being this guy's catcher, I could tell you that at least....
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:09 am

OOC : Many thanks to Græntfjall for letting me use one of their national team fencers.

Auld Lang Syne

PART 3B (16) - Omen
Competition: Summer Olympics XIV


The Honam Line train fortunately wasn’t delayed and by the time Asher arrived at the ancient, magnanimous structure of Kingston Union Station, it was around 8:40 p.m. with sun still saying its adieu to the people before his bedtime. Asher quickly scanned around to see if he could pick out Myeong-Yoon amongst the heads. Having spent many years together as good friends, she was pretty easy to detect, but it seemed like Myeong-Yoon wasn’t anywhere on the surface. It made sense to Asher in all honesty, with Myeong-Yoon still injured and would be barely eligible for the olympics.

There’s no one to blame for wanting to not pick up their friend, especially after a nasty injury that may risk their olympic selection, Asher thought as he waited for her text in the middle of Platform 5. There was nothing. Not even any sign. It’s almost as if she’s taking a nap- quite unusual even by his standards.

Of course he could have arrived early on a saturday afternoon, and probably caught a curry roti on the old Krytenian place just down the road from UofK main campus he once visited with his family many years ago. But that also would have meant him forgetting a matter of concern, like whether to respond or not to her text, and that alone was scary enough. That would mean that he would have to hurry his way to respond to her at some point. It would also mean that he would just forget about it and ghost her, which he always viewed as a moral sin.

‘Helmut...right.’ Asher spotted Helmut Joekisch, a thirty-one year old foilist who happened to be the most famous alumni of the UKS program since his uncle. They of course knew each other, since it was an unwritten code first written during Sir. Philippe, a Class of 1974 graduate, that best GKA prospects, whether Erskine, Kingston Grammar or KUS, mostly end up at Queen’s College under none other than his uncle. Awkward. Maybe he should have remembered to just dress with a dark, plain T-Shirt and hopefully get away with it, but oh well. Too late now.

What the heck….

So he just kept waiting for him and him. Still, somebody had to break the ice and Asher just decided to go ahead with it. ‘Long time no see!’ Asher waved at Helmut, to generously greet him. They gave each other a nice high five and then grabbed each other’s hand. After getting over the initial period of surprise in how they reached the station, they were relieved to see each other again. To him, uncle’s pupils were uncle’s pupils- very much relatable creatures in their own kind.

‘My pleasure to you, as always,’ said Helmut, as graceful as he’s always been. ‘What brings you back to Kingston? You said you weren’t going to come back ever when Frank graduated and his parents moved back to Quebec City!’

‘Myeong-Shin asked me to take over for a gig. Needless to say that wasn’t my idea to start with,’ Asher responded, not once feeling so surprised at that. ‘Just like how situations sometimes just work out. Don’t you live in Háttmark these days?’

‘Yes, and I’m delighted you are writing an article on the upcoming invitational,’ Then Helmut tapped him on the left arm, as a gesture of gratitude. ‘Rebecca told me. I guess you know who she is right?’

‘Sure I do. I’m sure we remember those days, when you just let me move into the basement of your place for 400£. Just because uncle Brock wanted his nephew to stay safe.’

‘Right….’ said he.




Three years ago...

Asher rolled to the ground after finishing the final bottle of eight-bottle pack of Soju, and just groaned.

‘Fucking hell…not this news….!’

He screamed at himself, slowly rolling his body a couple of rounds, before just lying on his back and hoping that his afternoon drunkenness would be just fine...for now.

‘Why did he just have to tell me this???’

He lied around and thought to himself on how all just seemed lost even as they had met their desired goals. Lying on his back to the blank ceiling, he started to recall how he had now lost count of the number of days he would just let his inner beast roar and pounce at the pubs, bars or of course, the clubs. Why he just decided to fall into the darkness, of course, was a little known secret for those not really knowing him, the Erskine Collegiate, or Plongeon the singer-songwriter. That’s just usually left with an euphemistic remark.

‘Just before coming here, I lost someone so dear to me, all because I was incapable…’ He would usually say that when girls and guys asked him after a rough night’s lovemaking. It was always on someone else’s bed- he never liked bringing people home, lol.
So, while feeling drunk, he decided to sing a bit of a chant. Not really feeling the phone vibration that likely indicated a notification or two, Asher just nodded along as he just chose not to give a fuck. He knew his friends were out somewhere in the city or one of the 17 constituent colleges, and teammates at the gym. Of course he would be somewhere by eight p.m., but that’s another problem to deal with later in the day. No wonder he didn’t choose to give a flying fuck.

‘Oh blimey- fuck.’ He groaned as he rolled around once more, only to see a figure standing right there. ‘Oh dear, Helmut...my apologies on that.’

Standing in front of him, dressed in a national team windbreaker, was Helmut Joekisch. Asher and Helmut just happened to face each other right there, but this time there wasn’t any sort of tease, the conflict, etc, that usually carried the weight of post-drunkenness situations. They had been through enough things during his sophomore year of undergrad at St. Croix. During that year along, he had taken part in the worst of antics by the Ridler Club (OOC : See Bullingdon Club or Skulls and Bones Society), slept with a couple of dozen men and women, and he would come to exams drunk (and still getting upper second class honours), and tonight just happened to be a low among many lows. Nothing special.

‘Asher, I’m not concerned about that.’ Helmut said at last, his sad eyes seemingly telling Asher something. ‘Is all good?’

‘I guess, Helmut.’ He sighed. ‘You know. Still going through the same shit….losing her and all that still leaving me that.’

‘Thought so.’ Helmut said, taking few seconds before continuing to talk as he was unsure on how to start. ‘And I do have a news to tell you as well-’

‘Does this have to do with Becca?’ Asher asked with both his eyebrows raised, with still the same low drizzle and droozle on his voice. Just a few months earlier, he had to help the left-handed foilist propose to Rebecca Theosdóttir, a Graintfjallian foikist who had joined Gunzlach Multi Sports Club after a successful career at Háskólinn Almennar Rannsóknir in Lohrreith. ‘I mean...well...I guess it would be. Anyways, what would it be?’

‘So I guess I’m moving...to Háttmark...sooner than later.’ Helmut put, trying to put together words without confusing everybody. Of course, he was glad that the most important part was said, and that whatever that was going to happen were going to happen.

‘Oh…’ Asher said, slowly processing the information. Eventually he came out with good explanation. ‘I guess that makes sense...like I heard that they do pay fencers well there. Good choice, good career move. Obviously the national team sometimes travel to visit the Krytenians at Éscrime Emberton and the Commonwealth circuit keeps everybody busy and moving….Going abroad keeps us competitive...RQFF won't be happy but they won't gonna kick you out of the national team so... I think you made a good choice.’

‘Certainly. I’m very delighted!’ Helmut smiled, feeling glad that Asher was able to understand the situation. It wasn’t easy for Helmut Joekisch to speak to his roommate about it, but he had to at some point- sometimes life happens and that’s what the foilist took when he redshirted one year to go on full year exchange at HAR and fence at the university club there.

That’s where he met his wife, who also happened to be a strings player (she plays cello, he viola), love hockey and history of past other sports (Rebecca rhythmic gymnastics and Helmut field hockey). After a trimester they quickly became closer...and well the rest was history.

Everything since then became bit more complicated though as he went back. With both players representing their own countries and being professional athletes on the other side of the Multiverse (OOC: in my mapcanon, AO is located south of Rushmore), they had come to realise fairly quickly that something had to be worked out. Ultimately, one had to move to the other.

‘I’m glad,’ Asher nodded, slowly getting himself up now that he didn’t have to behave like a man-baby ready to just roll like a rolling pin. Now it came down to a key adult question, especially since Asher received no money from parents. ‘Now I have to find housing though...Quebec City rentals are gonna be bloody expensive and everybody knows it’s insane.’

‘Don’t worry about that yet,’ Helmut responded, though unsure on whether what he was going to propose would work. ‘There’s a Zwangzugian professor who’s coming to town. Pretty cool lady. Studies mathematics and all that. Heard that she’s coming with her family, and her sons happen to play baseball in Zwangzug as well. Let’s see if they’d be down to find you a large room.’
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Sat Aug 22, 2020 11:23 am

OOC : Thanks to Delaclava and Banija for giving me a bit of odd RP permission this time around.

Auld Lang Syne

PART 4B (17) - Пачка сигарет


‘So it seems like you have matured up since those days at least. Somewhat more mature, more trustworthy and of course, the same ole competent self.' Helmut commented, speaking to Asher as they were sitting on a table in Tanhaji's Roti House for a late night's meal that they had decided to have instead. It turned out to be that Helmut Joekisch was visiting his parents who lived in the Jookrim Neighbourhood just west of Little Banija district, and that he had no specific schedules assigned aside from seeing few of his friends at UKS. 'At least getting a year of job experience has done you well.'

'I guess, I guess not,' Asher responded, slowly swallowing the roti plate he was eating as they spoke. 'But there's at least the sense of anonymity that keeps me going abroad and relishing life there, though my job involves enough flights back to Quebec anyway. Don't you have similar problems being an international couple, with air miles building up?'

'Of course. It's still the same- of course it wasn't ideal for both of us to fence in Quebec, because the Home Office had particular problems processing her visa or permanent residency applications. You know the whole story, yadda yadda, and we’re here again.

‘Anyways, yeah, I'm no longer bummed on the idea of not really involved in the domestic fencing circuit as much....sure, those domestic competitions back in Quebec were great and all that, but it's lot more centralised and compact here in Graintfjall, and I only have to travel to Quebec, Novopetrograd, Norrehavn or Nuevo Caracas to join the national team when they need me,' Helmut shrugged, as they continued to eat while those on the neighbouring table mostly went on to their own thing.

He's very much right on this analysis, Asher thought. He knew very well about the appeals of the Capitol but also the downsides of it as well, especially as a national team athlete. Their home city of Kingston, while being the fourth largest in the country by population and was the centre of Southwestern Quebec, was very much provincial in the people and how they built things around. While this partly meant that enough kids would head to the central part of the country for bigger gigs and better fish, it'd be a good environment for young families because anonymity would at least be there. Lot more so than Quebec City, Montreal, Halifax, etc...

‘Of course. These days there are so many movements between the fencers and the Commonwealth Circuit, for one, isn't the be all and end all for those who could afford it. Everybody has their ways.’

‘All brings us back to home, no matter what, though.’

A silence followed for about a couple of seconds, as both sides struggled to find the next conversation topic. Unfortunately, the next one proved to be unintendedly uncomfortable as well, as Helmut asked: ‘And do you still love that soul-sucking siren?’

Asher sat silently, thinking a bit about the next comment. Eventually something had to come out, especially since he wasn’t a translucent Scholar Tree- the combination of such an adjective and a noun didn’t even exist anyway. He couldn’t just say yes, because providing only that answer alone would have posed enough problems, and he was pretty sure the success left behind in Montreal was best unannounced ‘til the time right was. He had to come up with something more diplomatic. He said, ‘Well, I guess I do. Kinda amazed at myself to see the lack of luck with something permanent. I remember being on the train to Quebec City, vowing to never forget the loss. I vowed to myself that I’m gonna get what I want and even end up a lucky guy by the time I’m twenty-two. But that’s yet to happen-’

Helmut did a light wave of jazz hands to show disapproval. ‘Listen, that’s not how it works, Asher. I know people have been telling you this over and over and that you wouldn’t listen, but hey, it won’t just happen because you chase women after women. We all do those things. Weren’t you the one who told me the story of Joey Stepherson?’

‘Right….’ Asher nodded, as he remembered what had happened to a classmate of his one year. Stepherson, a notorious fuckboi at Erskine, son of a rich insurance company exec, once married an unstable expat while he was on exchange at Universite-de-Marianopolis-1-Virtus. It did not go well since a) he had to head back to Quebec City, b) the girl turned out to be highly unstable (hence 8 boy toys in 6 yrs of being a single mum), and c) . So now, he’s back in Quebec after a couple of irritable years with the unhappy marriage, and he was still a butt of jokes in the eyes of Asher and some of his...more reserved friends. ‘That was something, and I remember missing out on the wedding because the invitation went to his old apartment and not the new address at Delaney House!’

Helmut laughed, telling his junior to calm down. ‘Oh, Asher. You and your address issues...how fitting. Anyways, that’s exactly what happens when you fail to identify your options accordingly. It’s like whether to use parry 6 against a tall, lanky rightie, or a seven parry and riposte to deliver clear sign of intent to the refs. Anyways, what I’m talking about is that you cannot just behave outta instinct and fail to see the signs. The signs can come in many ways because we’re all human and there’s something unique with how the world tells things. Being yourself and going on mild chases alone could bring enough of these purple rains to drop. You see what I mean?’

‘Sure I do. And that’s how she came to my life way back when,’ stated Asher. He was thinking about the wonderful opportunity that also coincided with a tragedy that was to come. Of course, he was also thinking about how a consequence of a mere smurf orgy in Porto Nowi somehow brought her back to his equations. Quite ironic indeed. ‘I guess you’re right on this. And that maybe I do deserve another chance and should just let it work out.’

‘Absolutely. I know Quebec’s not really a place for second chances, especially against criminals, but you do deserve another chance and I see it coming. You’ve made it deep in your life so far and there’s not much else to lose at this point. Coach Brock and Mrs. Kenna should have all the right reasons to be proud of you. Myeong-Shin should be proud of you, Myeong-Yoon already is, maybe even Plongeon.’




Two hours later…

Asher Lundrigan didn’t know how to look back, as he sat on Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, a notorious Downtown Kingston strip club owned and run by a Delaclav family, and just watched the strippers go on and on. Asher normally wouldn't go to WPP because he knew the Delaclav family (one of the third-gen kids there played at Jinheung CI), and also because he didn't want to risk being out on this part of what's mostly safe Downtown Kingston in nighttime, but different situations required different solutions to let out the steam.

On one hand, he was feeling somewhat at ease, especially in that he wasn’t gonna get kicked out yet because he drank a bottle of gin and another bottle of cognac while watching a few Delaclav, Quebecois, South Detroiter and other international strippers of rainbow colours here and there. But on the other hand, Asher was also very much aware that this was gonna end up terribly by tomorrow morning, when he would wake up in the hotel and eventually throw up in the hotel washroom.

Poor cleaning lady tomorrow, Asher thought, accidentally forgetting that the cleaning ladies in his hotel were only around for six days a week, not seven. And that the sunday was their deserved day off.

Coming back to thinking, Asher just looked around, noticing little in the physical details of these strippers and the clubgoers who go there to receive some nice service and maybe hope for a lucky + service on the back alley after. Of course, that’s not what he was thinking about, and he knew that he was gonna get kicked out for not asking more touchy and primary of services even with about thirty-five Quebecois pounds ($70 NSD) he had spent on alcohol.

He knew the past was coming back to him and that remark by Helmut, long before Myeong-Yoon’s text asking them to meet tomorrow at Tigers Game, threw him off. It was as if all seemed to point to something, and how he couldn’t let go of the opportunity once again. The first time he didn’t but it was by a stroke of luck and a bit of stretch. He owed a few people. especially Dr. Curado and Myeong-Shin, for that. But was the magic still there this time, even after all the mistakes he had made before the break-up and during the years of degeneracy?

The fate, the fate and the fate..
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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:22 pm

Auld Lang Syne

PART 5A (18) - Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
Competition: Summer Olympics XIV


‘Can they please stop scheduling these games so early,’ said Gaugin Jones, as he slowly entered the locker room with his wet, squeaking boots. ‘God. The rain isn’t stopping at all.’ He sighed, kicking his boots with his feet to the locker room in frustration. It drew a minor jeer by the rest of the team, who were really just trying to get to their normal pregame routines in what’s already a smelly locker room early in the morning.

‘Not our choice man.’ grumbled junior infielder Samuel Carlini-Mwambutsya as he grabbed himself a cup of coffee before checking his phone. ‘The QBC people scheduled them in the noon so everybody could watch it like how they do with college foo-bahll.’ It was nine in the morning and nobody was really up feeling excited over it. Having woken up at six a.m. and arrived at the hotel around six forty-five. There, they held their scheduled practice session at eight, which went horribly in the middle of the rain- everybody was sliding all over with wet grass and mudslides as they struggled to find their right tempo in both batting and fungo practices.

The coaches, after a light debate whether to go ahead with it after about halfway into an hour-long practice spot, just decided to bring the players back because they were unsure on whether the game would get postponed or not. The players were slowly getting changed to their undergarments and other training wear they had brought ahead of any unusual circumstances, but this didn’t prevent them from feeling wet, grimy and of course, in need of shower. The snow would normally be on the field, and they were used to it, but instead all they met was a torrential outpour of rain that’s been striking the nation’s capital over the past twenty-four hours.

‘Well seems like only the lord will decide.’ Asher shrugged, carefully caressing his catcher mitts in hopes that it wouldn’t be spoiled. He was a fucking mess- his fingertips were slippery, the shoes all muddy and of course his glasses hard to see. During the practice session with Myeong-Shin, he was having even more of a trouble catching the ball, and it clearly showed. ‘Looks like we may need a no-hitter to make it out of here alive. A perfect game with twenty-seven strikes even.’ The earlier pitching session was rough enough, and Asher collapsed and dived more than not as he struggled to catch the submarine’s 95-mile sinkers. Luckily for Asher head coach Sung had no plan to remove Asher as a starting catcher for the match, especially since he knew Mira Cho-Lawson would have had even more trouble with catching Myeong-Shin’s pitches.

‘Nothing comes easy, guys. Nothing. No championship victory’s easy.’ Myeong-Shin interjected with an aura fitting of the team captain. ‘Nothing will stop us - no rain, no mud, no pouring gasoline over a snow-filled field.’ He added the joke at the end, but everybody else heard it with some kind of seriousness added.

The entire team remembered how the coach Sung, on the morning of the first day of their training camp on their local park, set the snow-filled diamond on gasoline. The sight that was the fire was still very much etched into people’s minds, as they witnessed the burning of the field to make the playing surface workable, but barely functional. Just with that alone, they knew this was going to be a rough season.

At that moment, the door swung open. ‘Well, good news, children. We aren’t eliminated yet.’ Said the Erskine head coach, Sung Joon-Yeol, as he entered the dress room. Being a southwestern boy through and through, he wasn’t impressed with the weather either. It was clear enough to him that this was going to either end up greatly or catastrophically. But at least the players had to know early enough. ‘The match’s postponed ‘til 7pm tomorrow, and the QBC crew will be back around then. So this means that y’all have free time ‘til 5pm tomorrow.’

‘Woo….’ The team buzzed their excitement with whatever energy left of them. ‘Are you actually gonna let us go do whatever?’ asked Joe Stepherson the troublemaking outfield in the middle of the locker room.

‘Yes, but please don’t cause trouble.’ Coach Sung stared at him, to drive his point clear. The choice of using Korean instead of English was enough to emphasise that. ‘The team dinner will be at 6 tonight, generously paid for by Myeong-Shin’s halmeoni and halabeoji. I expect all of you to make it, so no exception whatsoever. Given the condition, good practice everybody. Keep it up- tomorrow’s not gonna be any bit easier so please don’t stay out too late! We must not give anything away from our victory tomorrow.’




Asher Lundrigan and Heo Myeong-Shin were sitting in Hector’s Acadianan Cafe, located right in the middle of the Rue and Boulevard Gabriel-Telmas. Having arrived about half an hour ago, they had already downed a cup of coffee and were thinking about possibly getting a cup of tea to add on top of it.

Outside them, everything just ran like they were panorama films, as youth, students and tourists looked at the cafe as if they were being part of what they had believed to be a walking piece of history. The rain, of course, was interrupting everything and as a result what looked like back and forth lines of people walking were instead turned into a bunch of zig-zags.

Frankly, they aren’t wrong, both Myeong-Shin and Asher thought to themselves, as they watched the people. Long familiar with the City of Eternal Lights on their own account, they embrace the slow buzz and the murmur of activities that got them to at least feel something while still feeling bummed over postponement of the final by a day. The news of a day-long postponement wasn’t really cheering them up even though the players received a full day on their own account, and they both regretted not checking the weather news and drinking a couple of bottles of vodka each. While Asher woke up on his usual competition time, late and late at ten-a.m., Myeong-Shin barely got any sleep due to all the media news and was feeling even more down as a result.

‘Tigers seem to really want you, eh?’ Asher asked, trying to get the Saguenay commit to focus. ‘Underhanded, shortstop, third base. What position really.’

‘Right, indeed, sure, absolument, avec plaisir, etc.’ responded Myeong-Shin as he massaged his forehead, still trying to gauge the volume of articles drawn by one comment made by the Kingston Tigers GM, Derrick Ha, on The Taegukgi. ‘Of course the Tigers want me. At least five of their franchise players have come from there, and they want to net a franchise star, a Cornwall native who happened to play just five kilometres away from the Mudeung Field. Nobody wants to deny that.’

‘Makes sense that they want to draft you next year. If I had your skills I’d be happy getting drafted in the first round and start playing rookie leagues this autumn.’ Asher responded adamantly. ‘But then, I’m sure that the Tigers and the Blue Jays, whichever draft you after junior or senior season, know they aren’t gonna get you playing for them at age 18 and will wait to draft you as first round pick. Any year, any draft. They know you wanna play college football as well. Sometimes people don’t have the choice to play which sport, which school, etc.
‘Of course, the virtue is that neither of us are in a hurry of money, and we could decide. And in your case, it would not make sense to go back on your promises with Saguenay, not so much for baseball, but rather for football.’

Asher was right on this. Both of them had options, and weren’t really looking the other way. The worst kept secret in all of Quebecois college football that year was that Saguenay Fighting Irish was the consensus favourite to win the Tiger Bowl, and Myeong-Shin was almost certainly penciled in as starting outside linebacker for the team that already had enough top-tier linebackers to start with.

Of course, this meant having to face and beat the rival both his parents went to, and Myeong-Shin somewhat liked the idea of that challenge. Myeong-Shin had a weird fascination about going outside of the box, like being a Tigers fan when his mum cheered for the Blue Jays and father longtime rivals Chicoutimi Lions, and Asher knew that’s a good competitive drive to have. The idea of them possibly ending up in rival schools, with Asher possibly heading to St. Croix (assuming he doesn’t fuck up any of Baccalaureat Quebecois or the interview phase) and Myeong-Shin Saguenay, did make them feel somewhat surprised after the announcement of his commitment back in february, but they kept civil to themselves over what’s even yet to happen.

‘-And that’s why winning a few more would be important- kinda guarantees the signing bonus and contract money either way. Not to mention the whole QFL factor in mind.’ Myeong-Shin nodded, once again checking his phone before quickly turning it off again. They normally didn’t go to cafes during the season, especially during the matches, but the unusual circumstance had meant that the players were just allowed to have good times. His middle school eating days were long behind him, and now the focus was on eating healthier, exactly as prescribed by his paternal grandmother.

‘Fair enough- it all makes sense that you wanna play for the Irish. It’s like a Quebecois classic to many out there who grew up watching QFL,’ Asher said, with enough turn on his tongue to emphasise the point on how much he dislikes them. Of course, that’s a natural of a man whose heart has laid upon St. Croix Bleu et Blanc and their urbanite tradition for years. It’s been like that since he was about twelve. ‘Still, they shouldn’t rush into it all so much. As long as they stay patient, they could net you in four years, and either Carlini(Mwambutsya-) or Reynolds(-Walusimbi) in the first round the year after.’

‘Exactly.’ Myeong-Shin pointed with his left index finger on air, trying to encourage Asher to think more like a student rather than just a labourer of the game. ‘The ball’s gonna roll and they will get me in the first round which I’m perfectly happy about.’ Myeong-Shin and Asher were perfectly happy with that outcome. The Tigers had a solid core centred around a couple of southpaw starters and few promising outfielders. It was clear that as long as their front office weren’t falling apart, they were going to have a solid team capable of winning a couple of Quebec Series in a few years. But they also had enough veterans on infield and their developmental system’s been iffy at best, so they knew that it was a lot better idea to maybe also see and consider football as a backup option. Frankly, that would not be a bad idea, as long as Moncton Bengals or Winnipeg Raiders weren’t going to be the ones drafting Myeong-Shin in 4 years’ time.

‘But, the waiter seems to be nowhere in sight, and it bothers me a bit.’ Myeong-Shin caught himself in a bit of irritation, and lifted his voice up to show disappointment. ‘Didn’t you order something? I think a croissant, to accompany yourself with coffee. That didn’t come along...’

‘Seems like it.’ Asher said, raising his eyebrows. To say that he wasn’t noticing it was a bit of lie, but given that it was Myeong-Shin he was with, it was better for him to not get that into his head too much. ‘Maybe I’ll ask him on the inside if he isn’t so busy...his name was Juan right?’

‘Should be. You know that better than I.’ This was true. Myeong-Shin, like his father, was good at remembering scenes and memories, but the names usually required a hint or two when unfamiliar.

‘Good.’ Was Asher’s response, as he quickly picked up his Erskine letterman jacket and went inside.

Fortunately, he was able to find where his waiter was the whole time. Unfortunately, the waiter was temporarily repurposed to the counter while his colleague was in washrooms, so everybody else had to wait. Of course none were unhappy, but there wasn’t much for them to do, as the line was just long for everybody.

Looks like we’ll be here ‘til five before six... That’s what was inside Asher’s mind, as he slowly watched the time and the line come closer to him, like a toybox. But then, something caught in the corner of his eye and he knew it was someone special. Growing up, Asher always had some knack for noticing people with anything that’d draw his interest. That, in turn, led into various turns of events that came from both the good (never had trouble hanging out in parties) and the bad of their situations (making enemies outta sheer connections from a friend of a friend).

Huh… He blinked, as he tried to figure out who just caught his eye. Flexing both his shoulders with a couple of circles, he was fairly certain that it was someone. Someone who was very much within the scene, but also quite not really fitting it all.

Like me. Indeed, like him in some ways. He may have been a son of a two-term MP, but for all that this had meant, his father was nowadays a former Member of Parliament, Kingston St-Pierre. Besides, he was still very much a country kid from Kingston who looked up to these big cities, but he knew fitting into its landscape was another story. But then who could have just drawn his notice, like a butterfly looking for their flower? So he turned his head to the left to see who it was and….
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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:30 am

Auld Lang Syne

PART 6A (19) - Place de la Republique
Competition: Summer Olympics XIV


Fold it, fold it, fold it, fold it...
Fold it, fold it, fold it, fold it


The same words were ringing all over her head as Eileen walked across the Rue-Capucon, her body feeling slow and somewhat tired as she approached the high streets of Quebec City’s Quartier Calanien. Of course it wasn’t an easy walk as she tried to walk from her recording studio to the Hector's Acadianan Cafe to take a quiet afternoon by herself. A couple of times she almost fell, as she attempted to get around the marble streets of Quebec City, before finally arriving at her destination.

The life as a young, up-and-coming singer-songwriter (up-and-coming part being subjective - some would say that she’s pretty well established at such a young age) had pros and cons. Sometimes the work would come in bunches, but usually it involved a lot of hours trying to work with producers on the songs she had written out of blank slate, while thinking about how to arrange the sound in her own ways.

She was working on a sophomore album, and that had been well underway with about a dozen songs written over the past few months. But the effort of working on an all-original album was a frustrating effort, as she struggled to find her voice, while trying to come up with something more marketable. This part was something she wasn’t entirely keen on it, nor was she really ready to accept, but sometimes that’s how the industry rolled here and there and in some ways one was an apprentice rather than a master.

This, combined with being back in the nation’s capital on the eve of the March break, was not fun, as she had to miss last three days of school in what was a HSC year (author’s note: HSC/A-Level/Baccalaureat Quebecois are university entrance examinations used in Quebec for those in year 12 of their education). Normally being in Quebec City is a good idea. Being in Quebec City in the middle of mild summers is always a good idea. Being in Quebec City at its worst of winters is usually a good idea. Being in Quebec City at the tailend of its autumns is sometimes a good idea.. But being in Quebec City in the middle of the rain, it was a punishment of another kind.

Another day, hopefully will be back home soon enough.

That’s what was on Eileen’s mind half an hour later, as she had a cup of tea at Hector’s. It was a decent Assam tea, passable but not great. She found the Capitolian cafes to be great for watching children, youth and families passing by, but not ideal for her own pastimes. Eileen always enjoyed sketching and drawing things, as the sun slowly went about in radials, the winds whispered, and the reeds canted the songs of Pan. Out of the doors on a pavement, facing a major square or a roundabout, was fine for socialisation but on situations like this, not so ideal.

Whenever Eileen was in Quebec City, she usually went to similar places. Being underaged, she usually stayed at a hotel with either her father or elder brother (who was 24), and her manager, near the Parc d'Armistice, where security was guaranteed and concierges decent enough. They would normally eat outside wherever as they had felt and then she would normally go to the Canals on the southern edges of the north side of the Fleuve (without Saint-Henri attached right after). When, with nothing remarkable happening but the laughters, observations and cheers abounded wherever she went, she would simply stroll her way back to her hotel and call it the night.

This afternoon, Eileen decided to make things slightly different on an off-day by visiting a childhood friend who moved to Quebec back in year 8. She was already on her way after a late lunch at Ben’s Diner near Place-St-Eustache. It was a small one with her manager, Ivan Taylor (brother of safeties Ike and Marquis Taylor, who would eventually play in the QFL after a career with Saguenay Fighting Irish), about whether she would be content with recording second round of recording in August, as opposed to the previously promised November timeline. There had been misunderstandings- the classical ones that should have been dealt more amicably, and facilement, under a more competent manager. It appeared clear enough for both Eileen and Ivan that switching record labels would be ideal once this album’s over and done with.

Anyhow, Eileen was going to be back in Saint-Richard-Upon-Battersea on the train tomorrow morning to go back home, and the thought of going back home was exciting enough. This thought was pronounced even further by how brutal today had been, and she would find himself just watching in the middle of the Quartier Calanien.

Sitting at a table inside, Eileen slowly smiled at how the day was passing by without any accident. Sure, things could have gone horribly, but at least she didn’t fall when on the run to here and she had made it on time after an okay meeting with Ivan earlier. She knew her friend Jade was going to take some time. That has been the case since 2027, the year they had first met in the kindergarten, and she didn’t expect any different here. The heart of the city, with the grace that long overpowered the people’s daily lives, had probably caused Jade to do that this time, with its worldly ventures and the outlook it posed all the way back to the Fin-de-Siecle. It was very much like how the Blue Smoke of Montreal drew her mind.

A famous Quebecois ecrivain, Park Hyeon-Seong, once wrote in his eccelestical masterpiece ‘The Shchedrin House‘, that ‘to spend the youthful years in Quebec City, at its tip of the equinox, then the feast itself will follow you for the rest of your life.’ To her, such a statement somewhat made sense, even though she didn’t necessarily agree with it in a heartbeat. That wasn’t gonna happen anyway. She could see it in the people’s eyes, from hate to love to envy.

‘Hopefully I didn’t pick the wrong seat.’ Eileen said to herself, as she went inside to see if Jade was there. But as she went inside, all that she could see were the same long line and the bustling crowd inside. Was it a promising sign? Likely not and she was going to have a hard time. So she decided that it was better to text her when there weren’t about half-dozen people around her and decided to go.

‘Wack!’

Her right arm colliding with another limb, she collided into unsuspecting Asher.

God forgive me...

That was the initial thought Asher held inside his mind, as he slowly recovered from the collision.

Asher, in every form, was embarrassed. He had accidentally dropped his letterman jacket, which was titter-tattered with his baseball and handball team bars, to the ground. That alone was embarrassing, and his face was somewhat reddened further by how he had just collided into a stranger in the middle of a busy, famous Quebec city cafe. Had this been a local Midtown franchise cafe, he would have cared less. Unfortunately the collision happened in the worst place possible, and the possibility of ending up in someone’s l’Instagrame story, however minor it may be, was not something he greatly enjoyed.

'Mon dieu, I'm so sorry about that....are you okay?' He asked, ignoring the pain on his left shoulder. He picked up his letterman jacket, and then turned his head around to look at whom he had collided into on a dreadfully grimy afternoon.

'Yes, I'm good. You?' She asked, as she slowly lifted herself back on standing. 'The line seemed long, so I was waiting for my friend and well. At least all's good for now.'

'I'm fine, thank you. Though the line seems implausibly long and endless,' Asher responded, adding a small laughter to close it off well enough.

Of course, he was feeling differently, as what followed the young son of a gun was an even worse outcome, as he could barely resist gaping at her on the inside. He looked at the girl and quickly realised how beautiful Eileen was.

She looked a bit like a Montrealer, but not entirely so- if anything she reminded him of a foreigner, though not sure of what ancestry of origin. Given the particular maritime-styled clothes he had commonly come to associate with wool sweaters and cardigans, he had assumed her ancestors were Schottians or Eireanners who migrated to Acadie or Newfoundland during the 1800s, but that wasn’t really something he had wanted to ask. The Quebecois people, in nature, are known for being fairly straightforward and knowing about each others' ancestry, something that many foreigners would find surprising at the beginning, but Asher knew behaving like an average Quebecois would not be ideal either. Anyhow, he was able to detect quickly enough a weird assortment of both worlds and nodded along.

But why, why did it have to be now?

Sure. She drew his heart like a lightning and a rod, but the timing was less than ideal. Not only did it happen out of an embarrassment, but Asher found himself in a state of mind that he did not expect at all and had to pay for it. Now, she noticed he was looking at her, as their eyes met; the mild springtime avalanche struck the winter castle of his mind.

'I see that you aren't from here either...what brings you here?' She said, having taken a couple of looks at the jersey as Asher slowly brushed off a couple of minor dirt off of it. Asher didn't know what to respond to. Did I really behave like an arrogant country boy, with all the mitts and mats and a thousand men's worth of tomfoolery? He thought, as he continued to gather himself quickly on what to respond. He felt he had to say something, in an attempt to escape from this situation, and maybe hope that the lunge won't land wide left of the target ala. a new foilist on his Day 1 of lessons. He got up, swallowed his spit and opened up his mouth.

'Well, yes. I leave....tomorrow.' Asher said, trying to go around how he's here for the Hwangjebae, and that he had to head back to Kingston on a Sunday morning's arrival. He didn't know how to explain himself.

'Nice. Me too! Where are you heading back?'

'Ummm. Kingston. On a late night train.'

'Awww. That sucks, though it's always fun to just...be on the train when heading home. I feel that,' Eileen lightly smiled.

'It's well...not exactly the quietest kind of travel.' Asher responded, hoping that she would catch enough without really noticing it. 'But it's March Break so just spending it with buds and fam. Might go on a trip near Kawarthas for boating. What about you?'

'I'm just going back home. I'm usually in Montreal when in this part of the country...I love Montreal and where I usually stay when there, but it can get a bit hectic at times. So I like heading back home, where I grew up....It's a small town in the middle of the forests, just outside of Saint John. It's right next to the water and wild horses run about in the tidal flats. Semarland's just southwest, across the border, so sometimes you see people coming from there.' She smudged.

'Seems like all fun and that by the coast and the beaches. You'd just imagine being in a movie, a panorama of your own,' he continued.




Soon, the things had quickly turned magical, as they had found sitting on Eileen's table chatting for a solid half hour. Asher and Eileen quickly fell into conversation and Asher found himself well within the hearths of his comfort zone with Eileen.

Asher quickly sensed that she was different from the usual girls he had long acquainted, flirted with, and of course 'wandered around' growing up. As stated earlier, she seemed like someone relatable. From the way she talked, the way she brushed her hair, or just how they looked at each other, Asher was able to sense that she was coming from somewhere far, but not from those of the expatriates and the exiles he had long accustomed from childhood. But then, she was different from the other girls of Kingston. He could talk to her like he would with Myeong-Yoon, his best friend, but there was that common air of comfort and understanding, of the wilderness that Myeong-Yoon held less as a city girl.

Like dusk to dawn, he thought to himself, feeling intrigued at the level of ease in which she blended into the portraits of daily life in this ‘City of Eternal Lights’, and how she would just morph so quietly into the Hanbok-like shrouds of the night. He could clearly detect, from the way she talked, that she was a musician. A singer-songwriter. Am I being reminded?….Have I forgotten about things that really matter all this time? His faith and confidence, in part, were shaking, as did his confidence.

Anyhow, the cafe was busy enough, with the usual clientele not really interested in bothering the singer-songwriter or a high school student who happened to be in town for their business that none of them held their stakes in. Furthermore, it was still raining like the hell's most brutish gates, a clear curtain of sound and fury from the seekers, the students and the tourists outside. So while Asher was not feeling so comfortable with how unusually stuffy it was getting inside, he found this space pleasant enough.

'It must be cool that you could just wander around the Coxwell Park, Eileen,' Asher nodded, trying to comprehend how big the estate building itself was. 'My uncle's place at Bron-Yr-Aur is comfy and wooded, but it's still known for being more of a comfy country house. I only go there a couple of times a year, the flights to the islands are expensive from Kingston.' He sighed. 'I don't remember walking around a ton in nearby woods though, but that's for another time. The Islands are weird, 'tis all.'

He held a side of his head with his left hand for a moment, before he realised that he did have to ask something. 'I know this may be a bit of a stretch, but maybe if you are free tonight...after maybe nine...why don't we go somewhere by the Canals? Just walking around.' He suggested, hoping that the second lunge would succeed as his first one did. Of course, he betted out of a sheer chance. He knew that while it was going to be a risky move and that the chance of success wasn't guaranteed, he still had to take that shot. For one being in Quebec City on a mostly free day was a daunting task, and with Myeong-Shin off on his own and likely spending time with his paternal grandparents, he could probably use the time to do something. It all made sense, and the people were not just going to have him end up on dozens of domestic and international tabloids, so the risk was a lot less than what he had accustomed to.

Unfortunately for our readers and Asher, however, the flow of the conversation and his desires were only stopped when Asher noticed Coach Sung entering the cafe. He clearly saw him coming, and so did she.

'Let me think about it, and get back to you later.' said Eileen, finding a perfect window to maybe wait and think it out a bit before responding. 'What's your number?'

'It's 647-'
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Wanderer's Guide To Somewhere: Megathread!

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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Founded: Feb 15, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:33 am

Auld Lang Syne

PART 7A (20) - Roslyn


'Lundrigan.' Asher heard a deep voice, with particular grind and grr, right behind him. Receiving a minor shock, he turned around, only to see that it was a tall man, Coach Sung. The only word he had inside his head was Crap.

'Afternoon, coach. What brings you here?'

'We need to have a quick talk, Lundrigan.' Coach Sung said, before quickly turning around to pardon himself from Eileen's presence. 'Now, excuse me mademoiselle, I'll just have a quick talk with Asher here.'

'My apologies, Eileen,' Asher apologised as he stood from the table, before they walked to the side and had a minor talk. Coach Sung's deep voice, known for only being used under a particularly serious, non-turf, situation, was enough to intimidate him. Asher had noticed that Coach Sung, who was supposed to have visited his college friend living nearby, was unexpectedly here which the coach had already told him that they had already bid each other farewell about an hour ago.

Asher felt awkward, feeling uncertain about how to approach it. He wasn't sure on how to explain on the fact that he was sending his number to a fairly well known singer in Quebec and the Quebecois Commonwealth, and he also didn't know how to explain on why Myeong-Shin was outside at the same time. He could see from the distance that Eileen had looked from afar, checking her phone to see where her friend Jade was and not really understanding what was going on between the coach and his player.

'So, what's the matter of concern, coach?' Asher asked, trying his best not to be overwhelmed with how pissed he was over it. 'My apologies for being frozen and all that.'

'No, no. That's not why I'm here, and you shouldn't feel sorry for it.' Coach Sung said, still trying to swallow and make sure not to be so concerned with what he's about to explain. Being a man of his words, he knew the values they delivered and didn't want to screw this up. 'But we may need to feel sorry for Myeong-Shin.'

'What's going on? Is there something, sir?' Asher asked, raising his right eyebrow. He hoped this wasn't something to do with Myeong-Yoon, his best friend, or that the Fighting Irish had discovered dirt on the guy.

'So, Mme. Turner, Myeong-Shin's mum is in a critical condition at Sunnybrook (hospital).' Coach Sung said, taking a breath on every comma as if there existed a breath mark for a tuba player. Asher didn't miss the clear look of concern on his coach's face. It was clear from the onset that Coach Sung had struggled on the way back from lunch with his friend, and likely wondered the whole time he's at the Metro. He wasn't sure on how to respond yet though.

'Oh no. That's sorry to hear...'

'And we must not tell this to Myeong-Shin until the match is over tomorrow. His father insisted upon this.' Coach Sung said. 'To respect his father's words, he team has been informed not to talk about this until the final out. And I expect this especially from you.' Asher felt sick on his stomach, he worried all over about how to handle this back in the team dinner, hotel room and of course, the locker room. ‘Don’t worry so much about Myeong-Shin, Lundrigan. His paternal grandparents will be in town tonight, and they will try their best to stay quiet on this.’

'Bloody hell....' He said, slightly pissed that he had to be the one handling it. 'But yes, I will. I'll get back to you during the team dinner.' Asher nodded, sighing very much on the inside. For all the excitement that a new love could bring, it was followed as he was informed of the inevitable and his stomach had just sunk into the very bottom of the Marianas Trench. He was feeling disheartened, if anything, and like that, they nodded along and he once again returned to the table.

Of course, what followed next was the unfinished phone number, as it was Eileen’s turn to go.

'Oh no….my friend texted me to meet me at the Place de la Royaume.' Eileen said, looking at him once more, as their eyes met for the last time in who knows when. It could be sooner, could be later, but we'll find out soon enough, dear reader. To make it worse, not only did he forget to finish the final seven digits of his phone number, she had also forgotten to give him her phone number as well. Oy vey. 'Ash. Text me later...I'm so sorry about that.' She turned around and walked off into the streets.

Both Asher and coach Sung just watched her go, still unsure on what opportunity they had missed due to a minor, unintended intervention, and unsure on how to just...leave this off. Now people outside were looking at her, and he wasn't sure whether that's a good idea. Of course, he also didn't know whether he should be running back, but he could also imagine that it would add a bit more awkwardness into what's a professional and respectful dynamic with his coach, who was also his brother's homeroom teacher.

So he just decided to settle things, as if nothing's happened. Coach Sung decided to go to the bar table and grab a Bloody Mary cocktail, while Asher decided to go back to the table.

'Ash, Who was that?' Myeong-Shin asked, grinning as if he were the happiest man on the earth. Asher could clearly sense some sort of joy that his captain was feeling, probably as trivial as whether his catcher had netted a date, or something more serious like finding someone important to connect with.

'She's, er, Eileen. We met while waiting for that bloody waiter inside.' Asher said, stuttering a bit. Normally he'd get away with a basic excuse whenever Myeong-Shin, a notorious 'too-much-talker' like his father, the certain Dr. Heo, would ask. If anything, those would usually culminate into minor teases about how Asher knew how to flirt and sleep around, but not really fall into something serious and promising.

Of course, the problem was that Myeong-Shin had clearly noticed who the girl was. 'Oh really?' He asked. 'Her eyes seem to indicate something differently than the usual. Almost as if there's...something.'

'No, no, no. She's just...a friend. From art camp, a while back.'

'Is that eh? She looks too similar to a singer, whose songs Myeong-Yoon's been playing quite often a while back.' Myeong-Shin teased, clearly alluding to how he knew of Plongeon thanks to Myeong-Yoon being a fan of hers.




The March nights of Quebec City wasn't a fun time for the southwestern visitors, and that included Asher. The rainfall, which had continued to run, had brought most of the team to stay in their hotel rooms after the team dinner at a fancy restaurant nearby. Nobody liked being outside on this weather, as it seemed, and that was clear.

Asher Lundrigan sat at his hotel roommate, writing a letter. He was alone- Myeong-Shin was still at his grandparents' place, and Asher decided to opt out of hanging about with his comrades on one of the other hotel rooms they shared. He was the starting catcher for the tomorrow's championship game and it was going to be the match he had expected to be good. This was his first year really stepping up, and he was excited to finally be a key piece to the championship team. He had spent past two years on the JV, and then as backup the sophomore year, so this was going to be the first national championship final he was going to take part.

Still, he was feeling tired as he struggled to make much sense of whatever the flow of words he had in mind. May lord help me through this... he said, as he slowly morphed himself into how they became that catcher-pitcher duo...




3 years ago….

It was a regional final, and here was Asher and the middle school regional champions Dongseong Senior Public School Hawks facing some random middle school from Scarborough that gave them little trouble. Of course Dongseong, having a phenomenal 3-4-5 with future national team players southpaw fireballer Samuel Carlini-Mwambutsya, shortstop Gregory Reynolds-Olusimbi, and Asher, had a much stronger team. Still they were the away team, and their struggles reflected as if they were playing way below their competition. It only took 96 pitches and a no-hitter by SC-M, as well as a couple of hits by the trio, for them to win. Of course, none of them knew what was going to happen.

‘Ash, great job.’ Congratulated Myeong-Shin, looking at his prospective catcher as they were talking right next to the dugout. ‘It seems like you are only getting better at the game, and it seems like you’re enjoying it with a good crop of guys over there as well. Certainly a deserved win ahead of the OFSAA.’

Asher merely smiled, as others were told by their coach to start packing their buses with the equipment bags back to the school. It was clear from the look that Asher was one of the senior and best players on the middle school team, but a particularly singled out one among them. ‘Seems like it. 4-2 win’s far from convincing, but guess we’ll have to take the job.’ Asher responded, grinning all over. ‘Greg and Sam did a bulk of the work. We shouldn’t be having so much trouble on the OFSAA if this continues.’

‘Well, I think you can go somewhere deeper and win more.‘ Myeong-Shin nodded, as he stuffed his hands back in his letterman jacket, as they kept on talking. Given his freshman status, even though he did play a huge role as all-breaking running back and safety for the OFSAA football champion in 3A class, Myeong-Shin’s jacket stayed relatively clean and patchless from all the potential additions they were to be given. Of course, this was yet to be worn enough time by a certain Naomi Goldbloom, whose presence in the star’s life wasn’t going to happen for another few months. ‘I think that you’re capable of being a star catcher with us in Erskine, Ash. We need to talk about this because it can be a make it or break it thing, as you can see.’

‘Don’t you have Mira (Cho-Lawson) your year?’ Asher remarked, reminding him about the sturdy catcher who came from Guildford Park Sr. PS who was naturally on course to become their starter. ‘Isn’t she pretty much a lock to start?’

‘Of course she is! She catches all the juniors and seniors’ pitches well, and should be starting as early as next year. Still, she’s having a bit of trouble catching a few pitches I throw, and I think with right training and mindset, you should have no trouble if you come to us.’

‘So you wanna bring back the Summer League battery?’ Asher asked. ‘Like the good ole times, when we’d play against all the preppy kids and Elora and Felix and whatnot...but without the summer sweat and the bogan fun I guess.’

'Yes. I’m not going to deny that,' said Myeong-Shin, wagging his finger at the catcher one year junior. He was confident in the chances of recruiting a friend, something that he knew was going to be a fairly easy challenge. Of course, convincing him to go somewhere with only one or two friends going, instead of seven or eight, was going to be another thing. 'And the prospects here always look good, year after year, and you know that. Sure, Gabe is not as keen about it since his brother's already at Northbrook, but Sam seems to be keen about it.'

Asher smiled, as other boys chuckled while in awe over the situation. They were at some distance from Erskine shortstop, whose aura were distinguishable from afar, but nobody was not noticing that Myeong-Shin was out recruiting. Coming off a solid Hwangjebae victory where Myeong-Shin hit 2 homers in the championship final, they were having a thrilling scouting run where they had managed to net one half of the rivals in Samuel Carlini-Mwambutsya (the other, Gregory Reynolds-Olumsibi, committed to Northbrook because Myeong-Shin was already there as starting shortstop), and had managed to get all the guys they wanted from Mudeung, Choongjang and Forest Hill middle schools, not to mention a couple of out-of-district kids. Adding Asher, someone who could really control the freshman known for his pickiness when out on the mound, was going to be an excellent cherry on top.

'With your ability to know enough, and how you have played as a cleanup hitter on that Dongseong-joong team, it shouldn't be too bad.' Myeong-Shin took out another gum from the packet and swallowed it again. 'You should be having no issue with playing time. Probably win a few- even five or six, if we make our summer league battery work again- there's enough pitcher depth for you to not get overworked as well.'

I don't know, most of the lads on the team are gonna head to Northbrook,' Asher slowly noted, as Samuel, Gabe and others continued to pack. This was true- unlike those John F. Park or Choongjang Sr Public School whose finest in the Dovercourt Park would naturally go to where they were expected, Dongseong kids usually headed to Northbrook SS, a school 500m east from Erskine. Part of it was due to the boundary-related issues, where more kids were living within NSS or Leaton HS, but lax academic standards and easier code of conduct at Northbrook also played a bit of role in it as well.

'That does not mean much, especially when half the Dongseong kids overall come here anyway. Your friends are no different than mine as in how nerdy they can get at times. Aren’t vast majority of them coming to Erskine as well?’ Asher raised his voice, cutting no crap from his conversation while emphasising the commonality they had shared.

Right… was a slimmering thread that came out of Asher's mind. That was something that Myeong-Shin was gonna put forth, and he knew that. 'But there's no guarantee I'll start right away.' Asher shrugged, trying to negotiate the conditions. While he knew Myeong-Shin was certainly far from being a coach, it was still a good idea to work things out so that the landing pad would be softer, if he decides to go. 'Dongseong has next to no catchers anyway, and whatever the options they have are graduating

'Nonsense, Lundrigan,' said Dongseong SPS coach Dufresne, who took a quick look at their conversation before approaching the two. 'Couldn't be any worse at catching his sinker and sinking fastballs, especially if you have trained with him in summer leagues down south. I think you'll go far with us, Asher, and I don't think I've been wrong about when pitchers need their designated catchers.'

This remark just happened to have come at the right time- his middle school coach was a former professional catcher, a perennial backup, with Tigers back in the 2010s, so he knew well about how picky the pitchers were. He was one too, anyway- one of the many reasons he had survived seven seasons in the QBO, in spite of his highly questionable hitting abilities, was he was the only catcher who could handle Acadianan southpaw, Josiah Lee-Greysinger, and his knuckleballs.

Anyhow, filling the school bus with equipment bags took only a few minutes, and now it was their time to go. The bus, standing not far from them, honked a couple of times, and coach Sung looked around. 'Jesus. We have to go back to school now. Alright, Lundrigan, we better get going but please think about it. Lundrigan, please think about it for a bit before you decide to commit. Might not be a bad idea after all.'
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Wanderer's Guide To Somewhere: Megathread!

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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:03 am

Auld Lang Syne

PART 8A (21) - Title and Registration


Asher didn’t know how to clear his feelings about Eileen. Not only did he fail to give her his number beyond the Kingston area code, but also failed to arrange anything. No time, no place, no time. Ca suffit. This was something that he had really struggled to handle the past eight hours of his mind, and this was unnerving enough for the 17-year old to reduce a feline creature’s life count from 9 to 1.

It wasn’t like he was denying the feelings either. From what of short time he had enjoyed with her, Eileen was a shy, introverted girl who happened to bring oiseaux and butterflies wherever she flew over the sky. For a man who’s used to all sorts of girls and guys in Midtown Kingston, whether they be spoiled brats, bedroom-switchers, peacocks or nerds who doubled up as monks, Eileen was a pleasant difference. But it wasn’t like she was naive either- the inadvertent jokes he had made were caught on fairly quickly and drew up enough blushes and solid refutes as well.

And Asher very much liked that. If a younger version of he just happened to have caught them chatting, then that 2037 Asher would have thought of them as a particularly adorable couple and would have teased his upgraded version. Of course, he still failed to get to the point when it mattered, before Coach Sung had to come to him about something like this, and that may have wacked his psyche either way.

Then the question focused around what to do even if things were to work between the two. They had grown up in different worlds and he didn’t want to hurt her with misinterpreted signs and occasional confusions. While he seldom cared about whether any of the girls he went after were for seriousness or just for fun, delegating arrangements as the real-life sitution mandated, he could still see that this would require some time handling things on a long-distance. With his family coming from the Anticosti, and his father having travelled consistently between Quebec City and Kingston for six years he served both his terms, it made sense to do it just because she caught him out of heartbeat. But then again, he knew he still had to be cautious. While Eileen’s graduating from high school in June and moving to Montreal to continue what’s already a solid music career for her, Asher still had to write his exams and perform well his senior year and whatnot. He had long tried to deny their existence and found not giving too much mental pressure about exams to be quite a successful approach, though he didn’t know how to carry things under a different light...which was another problem of its own.

With that in mind, Asher started writing down his letter. He wasn’t sure if this piece of paper, in however the mode he desired, was going to arrive to her. Still, all he could do at this point in time were to write something, keep it somewhere, and hope for the best…:

'[To: Eileen]

[Hotel 502, Hotel-R, Place-Saint-Henri, Quebec City, Quebec]

Cette message s'adresse pour le dieu, a toi en fait. I won't hide it: this is unusual for me. It'd be a lie if you did not bewitch me the very first moment we saw each other. I'm so unused to being, well, overwhelmed with particular feelings that it all did not make sense. It was almost as if all things spelled for simultaneous incidences of aurora borealis in the southernmost points of Siovanija, Acadiana and Banija. And it's almost as if there are things that are just inexplicable to me, even with the whole excuse of the being high and above - you bring the worst and the best of the cliffs along the Cape Breton coastline...they tell me the fear and the worth, an the excitement about the calming waters right below. You're enchanting....

And yes. All your words, and how you say them like a cantor, are lovely. They are undeniably brought from the divine being high and above, and even the harshest meanings underlined bring forth the life. As you left you left the puzzles along the trails of this city, where I was wondering the last few hours before finally coming back to this hotel room. It was still raining, and I decided not to waste too many words while still thinking about what kind of flowers you have attached to them. It's like the butterflies were thinking that this was a summer day on a grove, not a marbled city.

J'espere que ca te rendra le sourire...I won't lie. I need you here. I confess that you are the only person I could think about the magical robins that come back when their family calls, the sunset on the far-western corners of Baja Calania that never seem to exhaust people with their sunlight of truth, and how....it all made sense when I had come back here, thinking about the match tomorrow.

Not far from here, there is a two-hundred year old eatery in more gregarious part of the Place-Saint-Henri district. I ate dinner there with the team- and there was nothing to worry when all expenses were paid. Aballones were plentiful, squids tasty, and the laughter abounded as the boys and the girls hummed to the tunes of great thieves and those who threw the figurative sun…..Listening to the Korean songs of our comrades, it brought me a reminder of how tired I have been while here, and how I just look forward to go home...just like how you mentioned of yours.

I wish this letter could reach you sooner than later, even though I do not know how and where to send it. I guess that may be something that I need to figure out once back in Kingston. I unfortunately cannot guarantee schedules nor promise what I hope both desire yet, but I will try my best to be there. And even if we don’t reach as soon as possible, we will find each other in dreams.

See you soon, my unexpected sunrise, my familiar sunset. ‘Til then…

Ash





Very next day, 2038 Hwangjebae Quebecois High School Baseball Championship

'One more out left. If he gets the final out, this should give him a complete game shutout, a wanbong-seung, in what's an one-hitter performance for him. Ball one, strike to the bottom left corner.'

'Erskine catcher Lundrigan's asking for an outside ball. Feels confident that the opposing batsman could finish it with ease. A solid idea if you look at it, with the rate he's been pitching tonight.'

'Certainly. Pitch speed has been as high as 157km this game, and they remain well within early 150s to now.'

'This is a good sign for a submarine pitcher....rare to see a 157km sinker or 152km fastball in high school level, even as the pitch count goes well beyond 100.'

'Second pitch. A foul ball to the right fence. There's only one more strikeout left to win the Hwangjebae!'

'It's been a phenomenal game, to say the least, and the one for the ages. It's not common to see one of the five championship games in any year to have a no-hitter, one-hitter or even a wangbong-seung these days, and it's a heckuva sight we may be witnessing. What the difference turned out to be was a crucial triple hit by Samuel Carlini-Mwambutsya, who then came home on a sacrifice fly by Asher Lundrigan on a 1-0 game so far.'

'And Swing....and Strikeout! Heo Myeong-Shin ends it in his own hands with his 137th pitch! Erskine Collegiate Redmen wins their first Hwangjebae in three years! Unlike last yar, Erskine have come through the final with stifling defence and phenomenal firepower, and they have done it! They struggled through at times, had a minor error or two, and have done what they were expected to do when it all mattered, and it showed!'

'Now the team's about to go on a dogpile, but this year's Erskine team is celebrating so in a quiet manner. We all understand why- with Myeong-Shin's mother currently in hospital- and it's such a shame that they're only able to celebrate a little on what's supposed to be a great way to start their year ahead...'





The rest went by quickly. Once the final pitch struck out the Westlake batter and landed onto his glove, Asher Lundrigan went out and hugged the team captain. Then, after the dogpile and handshakes and the hoisting of the flag, not to mention a much quieter interview session that only Coach Sung responded in order to not disturb his players, Asher and Myeong-Shin were still on the diamond. They did it. The promise Myeong-Shin made was true and now they weren't so done with it. Being a very good prospect of own, Asher's been familiar with winning, but this was still a fucking great feeling to have. To win a natty in Quebec City, in middle of what's been a mostly-rainy weekend, and now with two more to go. Whether he succeeds or not, now he had something to finally brag to his 'les nerds', Myeong-Yoon and few members of 'le gang'.

Now, they were heading back to the locker room. This is no rare sight now, but for one it did feel quite different than before. 'Well we did it.' Asher said. Myeong-Shin nodded, implying that Myeong-Shin was going to fly on a 11:30 p.m. flight back to Kingston instead of the 23:45 Nightstar ride back on 5:30 arrival time. 'Certainly, Ash. Now what waits ahead is a plane ride back, and we head to where we’re needed.'

Asher sighed, understanding the seriousness of his voice and whatnot. It was time for him to tell the right words. 'And I'd tell you for sure we will head to the hospital once we arrive at two in the morning. We're going to get what your mum wants and gonna pray for the best. Finally, and for once and many times, I am really sorry that we all kept quiet on you.'

'It's fine.' Myeong-Shin shook his head, trying to appear as solemn and peaceful in this situation. 'Granny told me about that last night, and it was a right decision for you guys to not tell this to me. I know dad wouldn't want me to be shaken over something none of us had control over....a crash....bloody car crash in middle of a local road....' He then started crying, as Asher hugged him once more. 'It's not your fault, Ash...we had to win this one and we did it....'

They broke off from hug and continued heading back to the locker room. Myeong-Shin picked up his phone and started texting Naomi, while Asher just looked around and walked along. Their job was done for now, but more awaited once they returned...
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Wanderer's Guide To Somewhere: Megathread!

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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:23 pm

Auld Lang Syne

PART 5B. (22) - Encore Une Nuit


'God. Seems like you haven't gone anywhere the past week or two.' Asher sighed as he entered the living room of Heo Myeong-Yoon's downtown Kingston apartment on a saturday night. 'Anyhow, how's the rehab going?' Asher asked, him not sure on how to word things around the mess that was Myeong-Yoon's apartment. There were bunch of post-its placed all over the kitchen, while the living room had enough cups and bottles which all carried some form of liquid. It varied from alcohol to six different types of tea that were brewed at various points over the past few days. The tables, where she would normally read and do works, were once again strewn with about dozens of books and a couple of personal laptops Myeong-Yoon worked around.

'The usual. They said I should be back in a couple of months....?' Myeong-Yoon shrugged, as she sat on her sofa facing the balcony. It was evident from the onset that she didn't want her literal best friend to be bothered so much, especially since he was the one visiting her after not seeing each other in Kingston for ages. 'I guess that's a good sign, though not sure how that's gonna turn out before the olympics. You know, August starts are kinda tricky and whatnot...' She left the sentence, trying to think a bit more before finishing on a more positive note. 'Anyhow, nothing's gonna prevent the one and only, yours truly and faithfully, from the olympics...and that's a good thing!' She said, trying to gauge interest as she cheered on the prospects of her competing in the olympics.

'Seems like it. Stay cheery, trippy and drippy. May as well say that.' Asher said, as he approached her and gave her a soft hug. However they disagreed with each other at times, it was always good to be on each other's presence. 'Are you ready to come to the thing tomorrow?' He asked, as he turned his head around to look at the view of Downtown Kingston from the 47th floor flat.

'I guess. Dunno know what they'd want outta half-cripple like me but hey, we won almost everything those days and had blast outta that.' Myeong-Yoon responded, picking up the cup of Green tea she had placed on the coffee table right next to it. 'Besides, not a bad idea to go back to the school that brought all of us together in the late 30s. I still remember how we were just trying to get around and survive all the hurdles...and man, it was whack.' Of course, Myeong-Yoon was being ironic there. The Heo siblings, in some ways, were the most famous siblings that came to the Erskine campus in the previous century. A head girl followed the head boy, two professional athletes who went away for college, won a couple of nattys and then eventually returned home. Not to mention impeccable scores and getting 18/20 on average for Baccalaureat Quebecois. The storyline alone was impeccable enough that there was no point discussing this on purely itself. Even teen dramas don't do that.

'Not feeling out of your own body. Sometimes I have that.' said Asher, alluding to all the changes that had occurred and flashed before his eyes the past week. 'Even all those years, I don't feel...so ready yet. I still feel somewhat out of sight, even though I'm partly used to it by now.'

'Still thinking about her?' Myeong-Yoon smiled, chuckling on the inside. Being that best friend from high school, she was present when the whole relationship thing between Asher and Eileen happened and remembered the things firmly. It wasn't fun having to be the one counselling Asher when they broke up a week before his Prom after all! 'You have never recovered from it....and all the sleep-arounds and casual dates didn't help ya shit. Quebec City's at best and worst for stuff like that. But then who am I to judge on that? Being a commerce grad and whatnot.'

'Have things really changed?' Asher thought out, deciding to drink coffee from one of the fuller cups. He was trying to maintain the same position that he held for past five years, both in acknowledging that the break-up had happened and also in not trying to talk so much about it. But then everybody knew Asher, Myeong-Shin and Myeong-Yoon all had common features, and it's that they had a particular difficulty in hiding feelings from what they were written on the surface of their face. 'I may have seen many knee socks and licked a few, but still I think about the same.'

'Yeah. I don't know what to tell you on that. Frank seems to be feeling closer and closer with Tessa (Maitfield) like a normie, but he's never had the whole baggage of feelings like you did.' Myeong-Yoon said, trying to connect the conversation with how Frank Lundrigan, his brother who had just signed with TSV Marzig of Siovanija and Teusland, had managed to get together with Tessa Maitfield, a friend of her close friend, Hazel Hanson-Conavacio.

'Of course! Else Tessa wouldn't have even gone out with him!' He said, that part alone driving his mind forward in jealousy. 'You know them. The Schottians. Skotiyani docheri.'

'I dunno. You've met Hazel.' Myeong-Yoon shrugged twice as she refuted. Everybody knew Hazel Hanson-Conavacio, the daughter of Quebecois legendary footballer Leonardo and Schottian physiotherapist Claire Hanson, and of her wonders in Hinodejin high school football and Haligonian. 'But then she's half Conavacio, and also half Hanson. Not an usual Schottian per se. At least the Handon United loving kind.'

Asher went back to the couch and just sat right next to Myeong-Yoon, just chatting along about the whole Maitfield-Lundrigan rendez-vous back then. Myeong-Yoon usually stayed out of her bedroom, preferring to sleep on her living room couch or on the wooden floor with just a pillow and a quilt or two to add. The living room also had a couple of televisions that she used to play Fortenite and watch Netflix, unless there were some basketball or baseball games to watch The living room's also usually where Myeong-Yoon, still single, usually bring her guests.

'Anyhow. Still contacting friends? You know, the people from the old days, like Aram, Sara (Legault), Chadwick, Lea...' He asked, while they were watching a movie, some rom-com Myeong-Yoon was watchijng earlier in the day. They were both scratching their hair as they poked holes about the errors of the movie ala. Cinemasins. 'I'm sure it's way easier seeing them now that you're back in Kingstongrad and so many of old peeps went to Western or Queen's College...'

'Yeah. It's not as easy with the season, but hey, they can always ask me for a ticket and we could always go out on an occasional night out.' Myeong-Yoon said, feeling like there's no fuss. Unlike Asher, who chose to mostly acknowledge along few friends whom he went to USC from Erskine, Myeong-Yoon still kept close hold on her old friends. Of course, it's easier to do that since she went to her parents' alma mater, where 40-50 Erskinians went every year, than St. Croix, which was located in Quartier Calanien and St-Croix district at the heart of the capitol. 'Don't you ever get tired of having to move around every day and hoping that a miracle will happen? Just like how Brent over there expects Janet to say yes to whatever the fuck he's having on his mind right now?' She asked, pointing to the current scene they were watching.

Asher nodded, though he wished he could just shake his head to that. Though a degenerate he has been for past few years, he always knew on the inside when he had to acknowledge faults of his own and place internal blames. 'I do. But that's maybe why I hope that maybe, just maybe, she will come back to me. All being forgiven and moved on. I hope she forgot that I once hurt her without much explanation....and that all's good.' Asher said, looking at the screen as the poor boy's hopes were crushed with a 'well yes, but actually no' by the crush of his. 'I still regret that, and it's not something to brag. Past-life breakup with Plongeon isn't something I'd tell to people I meet, and you know that.'

'And sometimes you bring yourself into too much guilt for nothing.' Myeong-Yoon shot back, trying to calm Asher down again. For Myeong-Yoon this was fairly easy effort, having done so few times before. Like that time when they lost Frank in middle of a hide-and-seek when they were eight (they found him hiding on a shrub), or like that time they failed to win the laser tag competition for musical council carnival their sophomore year. Or like that time Asher broke up and Myeong-Yoon had to be the one going to the Prom with her. Oy vey. 'If you really want her back, you need to not miss out on it again. She broke up with her boyfriend not too long ago, so maybe not a bad idea. I think the guy was in music industry or something, though I’d rather not delve into the details...I have my own shit to figure out. Anyway, I think you should go for your final chance this time. Let it all go.’
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Wanderer's Guide To Somewhere: Megathread!

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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:19 am

Auld Lang Syne

PART 6B (23) - Buzzcut Session


The Squad finally turned out to meet each other in full shape, for the first time in four years. Of course the five of them had met in various versions since their last full meeting, but it was the first time since Frank Lundrigan's commencement two Octobers ago (Frank's not in 'The Squad', by the way) that they had all gathered together. The Squad slowly walked along the streets of Midtown Kingston on a Sunday sunset, as Myeong-Yoon, Asher, Samuel, Bradley and Sarah slowly enjoyed the sun before the Monday. Even though only two of them were still playing sports (but on a very high level), they were still well and able to keep up with each other on pace.

So perhaps it was of no surprise that Asher was worried a bit about unnecessary interests of how the best point guard, the Kingston Tigers' superrookie Centre Fielder, and the up-and-coming-superstar of sports and culture journalism in the country...all happened to have congregated together. He knew the pros and cons of being in Downtown Kingston.

The pro, for one, was the lack of consistent attention that would normally given to you by a stranger if you had done something slightly off-touch in the two metropoles, just because someone who knows you through a mutual friend would snap a photo and share it. The con, on the other hand, was that being related to the local star, whether their affiliation be with Raptors, Knights, KFC or even Hamilton team on QWBL, would have people being in awe and ask their friend for autographs. This would normally mean even more delays and of course, people offering you too many favours that you feel nervous whether to accept them or not.

Fortunately they were in Midtown, where the gang all grew up and/or went to the school, and they knew they weren't going to be bothered as much. That is probably why when the gang were sitting on a table in one corner of their familiar Jeongshik (Quebecois Table d'hôte) resto on Mount Pleasant Road and near Davisville District. Having lived in Quebec City for five years and also being a ex-MP's son, Asher kept distance with strangers on sight whenever possible, but Bradley and Sarah were living their normal lives as a graduate student and a broker, and that certainly helped. Of course, Samuel Carlini-Mwambutsya and Heo Myeong-Yoon were always welcome on any restaurant out in the Southwest.

The gang had all looked the older version of their schoolchildren selves in their street clothes, semi-formal clothes drawn nicely, smiles galore even as the lines already started forming on their face. They were all used to wearing whatever that fit them when younger, but now they were getting too old for all that simplicity and whatnot. Asher was amazed how the college and the maturation seemed to have struck them quite impressively, even as they remained the same on heart.

Fucking hell. We've become our worst renditions, though on our own desire.

Anyhow, the crew were back out chatting as they tried to break ice once more. Fortunately the struggle in common ground all five had expected weren't so much there, and it all went fine up to the point when the beer was served and the toast were to occur.

'Alright. We'd like to welcome back all of you, and hope that none of you fuckers are going to really abandon each other!' Samuel the Centre-fielder cheerfully resounded his voice, as the five were ready to salute and shake their drinks any moment. They could smell and feel the drinks standing right there, and the interest was palpable. 'And now, may our Mr. Globetrotter say some big words for tonight?'

Asher nodded, eager enough to shout it out. 'Thank you for bringing an idiot, a Bleu et Blanc fool who spent most of half-decade away from home sweet Kingstongrad, back to the fold.' He hiccuped a couple of times, drawing laughter from his friends and himself (on the inside). 'I hope this will be the return of full five-men, I mean, five-people crew and their full meetings for many more to come.' Then Asher raised the glass, hoping not to draw more red on his face. 'And with that, I'd like to say congratulations to my friends, Samuel and Myeong-Yoon, for their departure to the Orean and Istria Olympic Games!'

'URA!' shouted Sarah, which was then followed by everybody else. 'URAHHHHHHHHHHH!'




'Congratulations, fuckers.' Bradley Coughlan-Chen shouted, downing yet another bottle. While living a quiet life as a biochemistry graduate student at University of Kingston in Downtown, everybody at school remembered Coughlan as that bizarre-thinking, playwriting student who also knew how to play cello. He was still living at his parents' place and commuted to campus, which was another trouble of his, but life seemed to be going along fine and mostly in underlined terms. From Asher's standpoint, Bradley probably had more coming in life but hard to see where the to-be-risen parts were submerged under the Great Lakes. ‘Haven’t we achieved something wonderful, for however pitiful we may seem at times?’

‘Growing up’s a bitch, and it’s hard. Let’s leave it at that.’ Asher said, trying to control the vibes. He was already getting drunk…..after seven rounds of beer on their third pitcher. ‘But for tonight we drink and pretend life’s fine the very next morning….before heading back here?’

‘I knew you were drinking and fucking anybody anytime, but you didn’t tell me you became a cynic!’ Sarah St-Amant exclaimed, to make a point about how they had all aged. Asher agreed to that- everybody were already feeling tired at age 22/23, and the grind was now the constant.

Asher sighed once again, another constant feature of his now. ‘Sometimes...everybody finds their one person, granted they live long enough. But what most don’t realise is that those days can end or revive or back and forth, and that you can only live up to your choices...I mean, I was partly ashamed when I went to Quebec City. With all the mess and the heartbreak. It left me a ruin. But it’s possible to make amends for it…and maybe the miracle’s there.’

Sarah understood as she looked at him- something that was always good. While they weren’t the closest of friends (their joining factor were Myeong-Yoon and Sam), but she usually said the best things among themselves when things turned serious. ‘You’re absolutely right…’ Sarah responded. Everybody, in a silent nod, were drinking along to that. ‘Sometimes we all feel like shit, and maybe that’s why we all hope for the miracle. You know, the numbers mean nothing until you connect the dots and you try to see what the bone tablets made out of these numbers mean...and perhaps that’s what we are all looking for.’ She thought, before finding a right analogy. ‘Like, somewhere out there on TV, Sam and Myeong-Yoon are letting a hoosier kid dream to be like them, and a prospective sports junkie may love what you’re reading…’

‘Yeah, and that’s why we can only live and aim for the stars.’ Bradley added. ‘Like I said, life’s a bitch. But if we could strive for what we really want, maybe it’s not as unreachable as we’d think.’

‘Well, it’s like that buzzcut season all over again.’ Myeong-Yoon said. ‘God. Don’t you guys remember the days when we, all back to Kingston just two weeks before the schools started, would just go to QNE every year?’

‘Oh yes.’ Samuel said. ‘And I mean, who wouldn’t forget those days when we would just go to random nightclubs they’d just build for high schoolers, and try to experiment some shit or evade the druggies out there? Boy, I remember running away from those like crazy...’

Asher chuckled. For once he remembered how he were like before meeting Eileen. ‘Like those days we all had our shares of guilty pleasures and well, pure guilt. Bros and Sises here, I remember how we, one year, all went there on fancy Oscar Kirsche suits in colours all represented by the rainbow scheme. Right. Just to show off and have fun. God, do we even remember those who we made out with…’

‘Yes, but only because we nearly got arrested by the end of the night!’ said Samuel. ‘Bro, I love my Koreana jerseys and shit, but man...it was a bad idea to wear them that night when a bunch of the QC boys were just looking for trouble! God, they were hard to beat!’

Everybody on the team laughed as they remembered their 2037 QNE memories. ‘Says the guy who hit on my sister for a solid year after that night, you piece of shit.’ said Sarah, punching him gently on shoulder. as the squad continued to talk. ‘You got lucky she eventually agreed to go out with you...

'And now you’re the engaged one among us.’ said Asher. 'Who would’ve thought.'

‘Not my fault.’ said the Quebecois Mormon. He was utterly happy about the July wedding between them over the All-Star week off. The sight of a Banijan-Quebecois wedding, celebrated in front of 200 per the traditional practices, was something that he was looking forward to have, though both the bride and the groom were getting overworked over it. ‘God bless. And may they bless our Tigers and Knights.’

‘I don’t know about that.’ said Myeong-Yoon, gently nudging Asher. ‘Add a new apartment in Quebec City, a couple of casino runs and that Plongeon album no. 4 for me and us getting VIP tickets to a concert. That should do. I’m sure we all know who can...’

‘Shhh…..’ was all Asher and Sarah coordinated to say. Sam chuckled along while Bradley gave a light grin of approval. Even though they’ve been friends for years now, Bradley wasn’t so much a guy for smiles.

‘Hey! I didn’t say it’s gonna work….pouvoir doesn’t mean 100% chance.’

Asher shot back, hoping to calm it down with a hint. 'Don't bring the pain back- all this is in your dreams...' Myeong-Yoon wasn't wrong about it though. Asher knew that at some point he would have to listen to his friend's words because this was about his own overcoming of the trauma as well. Perhaps, maybe that's what he needed to overcome the lifestyle of a lost and elongated self that was a shell of his well-rounded self. Seeing the Squad had maybe taught him the right lesson ahead of tomorrow, when he would host the ceremony, chat with Myeong-Shin for a bit, and of course, decide on what to do next. He needed that final push.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Wanderer's Guide To Somewhere: Megathread!

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The Royal Kingdom of Quebec
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Founded: Feb 15, 2012
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby The Royal Kingdom of Quebec » Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:20 pm

Auld Lang Syne

PART 7B-1 (24-1) - Season Finale - SECTION 1

PART 1/8 - Memories


On the backstage...

'Well, only fifteen minutes 'til you step on the gala Ash.' said Myeong-Yoon, reminding her best friend that the moment has yet to really kick in. Being a professional athlete whose legends have travelled all the way from Cornwall to Kingston and back and forth one more time, Myeong-Yoon was used to attending all these socials. But she wasn't sure if Asher was ready to really go back into social settings, after being out and about for a solid year. 'How you feeling today?'

'I feel like...it'll just be the same? The usual stuff you have to do when running shows like this? Lots of smiles, lots of acknowledgement, and of course, lots of just appreciating what's out there.' He slowly responded, trying not to make an error with pacing so early in the day. Myeong-Yoon couldn't help but to chuckle a couple of times at that, which didn't make his mood improve. 'You know. Running functions like this is never fun, especially when you know who's who and when they know who you are and what you do for work...it's all tedious and that.'

'Oh, come on,' snorted Myeong-Yoon as she peeked into the curtains. She was not impressed with his friend's timidity even after a solid weekend of them hanging about and seeing their friends. Being the daughter of certain Maureen Turner, she always liked the idea of keeping things cool, fun and going. Of course, her heading to Queen's College, her parents' alma mater where her father was a legend of own and her eventually carved her own as well, was partly to do with that. 'Don't be afraid. There's a reason why you're here and it's for everybody's sake. Think of it like that and enjoy- in the end it'll be alright!'

'Better be.' Asher nodded once, before walking a couple of steps around the backstage. 'Who would have thought that all the alumni, or at least those who could make it in person, would come to a Midtown high school's athletic gala? And not just basic folks- Alexandre Browne-Hahm's, Riley Jeon-Keane's, the Ahn siblings', etc...just a perfect setting for any terrorists to contemplate a kidnapping incident...'

Asher couldn't help but to fathom such thought, as he looked at how the theatre was filled with at least eight hundred people. They consisted of a diverse mix of people, from the athletics alumni to former and current coaches and teachers, as well as at almost two-hundred current students who are currently Erskine CI students. It was quite a sight. The list of prolific there, of course, were pretty impressive, as Asher and Myeong-Yoon looked around- one table had the Browne-Hahm brothers sitting with their children and what appeared to be the current hockey coach, while another pair of tables had Joh Hye-Gyeong, Felix Ahn and their partners chatting. The others also had at least two people they could recognise, and the more they looked, the more weary things were becoming. Sometimes, not knowing too much about the alma mater is a good thing.

'At least they aren't expecting a ton...' Myeong-Yoon said, as she tried to look further into the crowd. 'Riley (Jeon-Keane) seems quite excited to see the slideshow, else she may be too distracted with a call. Might be a key one from Basketball Quebec, who knows- they may have just put her to spy me around.'

'Maybe that's a bit silly...' Asher chuckled in reply while imagining such possibility. The thought of Riley Jeon-Keane only being here to make sure Heo Myeong-Yoon, the starting point guard, weren't slacking off on rehabs and being careful....just couldn't be any further from the truth. If those were true and she were the spy, then Asher and everybody else may as well be a voyeur and call 'lol' to that. 'They aren't gonna remove you off the olympic team eh?'

'I don't know,' Myeong-Yoon shrugged. 'Would rather not think about that. Anyhow, I'll let you be in your peace....you can do it, lover boy Ash.' She tapped him on his shoulder, before heading out of the backstage.

And a few minutes later, it was his turn to go. Out in the stage, Asher was feeling...splendid. Sure, he had coordinated conferences and presentations before, but this was nothing like anything he had gone through before. As mentioned earlier, the rented-out theatre was feeling all the glitz and ritz with the splendour of colours and attitudes coming from the legendary school's past hundred years of athletics and those who brought it, as the spectrum of lights empowered them all. For those who were coming from the 1960s and 1970s and likely needed some walking aid, this was a good way to bring back to the struggling years of the nation and the Commonwealth, when the professional sports were getting expanded and everybody was anticipating more and more every passing year to forget the sense of loss. Asher had heard a fair bit about those days from the St-Croix alumni not long ago on that.

Asher knew a lot has changed since then, and that it's probably because of their sacrifice that things really kicked off since the glorious 1980s. During the 1980s and 1990s, there were lots of immigration and demographic changes, as well as a couple of major political purges of far-righters, which affected the educational demographics. Yet their alma mater was still standing proudly, making its name known and appreciated by those well beyond the Greater Kingston Area...and that's because of the alumni. Those like the impeccable Heo siblings, but also himself, who have made their names known academically, athletically and through bonding together.

All the weird mix of feeling was flowing around him over the podium, as he slowly brought his attention to the paper, before returning to the wild applauses of the fellow Erskinians. Sure he had avoided Kingston as much as possible since his brother graduated, and he had enough excuses to do so- his high school memories there still left him in loss over Eileen, his parents moved back to Quebec City, and not to mention him bumping into somebody whom he knew, every day. Those things all made him run away. But then...maybe what he needed was a way to reconcile with those memories and get over with the losses.

'Mesdames et messieurs, tout le monde ici....' Asher opened his mouth, setting himself en route to what was going to be a fucking amazing night of coordinating the situation as the MC.




PART 2/8 - Tomorrow


'Congratulations, Asher.' said Myeong-Shin, as the Kingston Tigers third baseman grinned in utter satisfaction. 'You made it.'

'Thank you,' Asher responded, trying not to make too much out of it. 'Turns out they did like my talk after all.'

'They certainly did.' Myeong-Shin nodded, as the cup of coffee were laid out to each of them. The gala was a success, with the Erskinians of the past second century of Redmen and Redwomen Athletics successfully rejoicing and connecting up with one another. Asher was certainly a positive point behind that too.

One thing that Myeong-Shin was very happy (and surprised) about was how he seemed ready...for once. He was calm, well composure and of course, in steadiness. Standing confidently with a nice suit and his left hand on the pockets, Asher waived his hands around, walked around for a bit, even stepped down to the floor and landed basic, correct questions to the guests and just served as a guest. By the end of the night, Asher had long finished his scouting mission of meeting the right people, chitti-chatting with friends and teachers of old, and of course, not being overwhelmed with it. While those rewards weren’t going to be so evident yet, he knew that those networks would eventually reward him someday. That’s how he’s going to keep landing good stuff for Concord Height Times and Landslide International as well, he thought.

Of course, he had some people to talk to after-hours as well. After saying thank you's and goodbye's, which was followed by the exchange of business cards, Asher found himself in the middle of a quiet, midnight cafe somewhere in Downtown. Seated quietly at the very far corner, Asher Lundrigan and Heo Myeong-Shin caught up in person for once. It was a long overdue commitment, broken twice by their respective schedules as a globe-trotting journalist and a professional athlete, and now was sweeter because of it. Staying in the Southwest for most of the year, Myeong-Shin wanted to see how Asher was doing in his new life, and just spend quiet time together. Feeling tired, weary and somewhat flushed out, Asher just guessed and tagged along to his best.

'Heard from Myeong-Yoon about good times, Asher.' Myeong-Shin said to Asher, easily breaking the silence with his right index finger raised as Asher struggled to respond. Once again...reading my mind...once again... 'And she's right. Eileen's the right one for you.'

'I think so too.' Asher responded, both nervous but also glad that Myeong-Shin approved the situation. He knew that when it comes to love, a common ground had to be found in at least what someone's looking for. Myeong-Shin, being a longtime friend of his, understood that. Of course, he didn't understand then or now that this would be the third time they find something intimate if Asher makes it work with Eileen.

Then he just kept continuing, but somehow the mind was in a continuous loop of sentiments, as if he was being reminded of how stars aligned with that one look in her eyes that would make him drop dead. '...and her eyes...and her eyes...' He started repeating, using his hand to draw continuous circles.

'Okay there.' Myeong-Shin said in a deep voice, as he caught Asher's hand to stop it moving. 'I think we get what you mean. And you want to fall into this...love that you didn't deserve then, but would do anything to redeem, again.'

'I do...I do..I do...' Asher said, slightly looking down at the table to indicate his weakness and the desires. 'I know I made lots of mistakes when I was 17. Everything wasn't new, but felt new, and I was just...failing it back then. I'll do anything...if the lord permits me...to bring it back.'

'Stop being silly, Lundrigan.' Myeong-Shin let go of his hand, as it dropped to the table before continuing. 'I have told you not to be embarrassed over what had happened so long. Today, you nailed the alumni gala that many, including Sir Alexandre (Browne) or Dame Riley (Jeon-Keane), were worried about you being not good enough as a last-minute signup for hosting. Yet you did what I had long expected from you since we were 15, in being professional and eloquent. I thought I taught you better than that.'

'Yes, you did...but will it happen? Like that time was just one-off...and I may not get it again...'

'Believe in the miracles.' said Myeong-Shin, as he took a sip of his Huayramarcan coffee. The coffee, based on his facial expression, seemed to be just fine- maybe with a hotter temperature it would have been better for his taste. 'That's what I told you when my mother passed and you were wondering without clear means to reach Eileen the very first time...'






All was solemn and quiet in the mourning room of the Funeral Parlour attached to the Kingston Bannockburn Hospital. The hospital was located in middle of a famous river valley park that served as a key artery of greeneries on the Eastern half of Midtown Kingston, and the hospital's distanced location from Downtown had made things slightly difficult for outside guests to come.

Regardless, it was inevitable that the 3-day funeral, as traditionally done so in Quebec, was going to have a lot of out of town guests, but the volume of guests who came for the funeral of the deceased, certain Mme. Maureen Turner, Mrs. Heo Dong-Soo, was enough for everybody to feel overwhelmed. It was certain that none of Dr. Heo, Myeong-Shin or Myeong-Yoon, were really able to handle themselves much throughout the three-day partition period where a small table is set up with a photo of the deceased and incenses. Drowning their feelings with the guests' wails and that of their own, they just followed along with the customs of the funeral.

In particular, the Sangju (the eldest descendant of the deceased who are responsible for funeral proceedings) was devastated, his facial muscles dropped and his mouth silent and solemn. He kept his emotions tightly, not bringing too much onto the table though he did cry at times here and there. It was the day 2 of the funeral and all he could feel were the despair and the loss, the void of losing his mother a day and half after what's supposed to be a championship title he celebrate without limit.

Not the easiest times to be around. Too depressing to be real. Asher thought to himself, as he saw Dr. Heo, the sangju and Myeong-Yoon sitting against the wall.

Asher and his teammates were having particularly hard time being at the funeral. Being a bunch of teenagers with less grief to deal with than many other counterparts, they were having a hard time being present for the funeral of their captain's mother. The news of the car crash that left Mme. Turner was communicated to the team by Dr. Heo, who told them not to relay it to his son to not affect his psyche the day before the match. So, when the Erskine Redmen did win it, it only made sense that the team attend the funeral on the second day in person.

Not the most comfortable place to be at, but a right place to be, Asher looked at the visitors' hall, where there were dozens of guests having their meals and chatting. The thing with Quebecois three-day funerals is that barring the rarely-attended ones, they were usually out to bring people together after years apart, and grief in memory of the deceased resulted in a greenhouse effect of mourning.

Asher felt like he couldn't do much while inside the room- while looking at her picture, he thought briefly of Mme. Turner, a beautiful redhead on her own right, and closed his eyes. He couldn't help but to think about what had passed before everybody's eyes and thought of how things seemed to have just turned against the unlucky when it was not asked.

Sometimes, a sacrifice is all-consuming, I guess. Asher thought to himself, as he went outside to have a meal and talk to the few that still remained. It’s been about four hours since the team arrived to mourn and though most had already left, few players who were particularly close to the Sangju remained.

It was decently packed inside the dining area of the Mourning Room 5 of the Funeral Parlour. There the various subsets of feelings existed, whether it be remembrance, indulgence or the sheer volume of uncontrolled fury at what the world has taken away from them. From the gist of it, Asher had noticed that it was going to take just some time for some to calm down, but for others it was going to require other methods, and just naturally nodded along as he caught a couple of Dr. Heo's college day friends napping on the corner.

Just imagining such incidences as a particularly minor episode that commonly exists as a trope in Quebecois funerals, Asher joined his Crew, les gars, whom were talking while having their supper. There, after sitting down, Asher did his best to talk to his friends and not making himself a fool out of it. Being a bunch of high-energy, medium-sarcasm high school juniors and sophomores weren't so ideal in this setting anyway.

‘God, life’s so volatile and unpredictable these days,’ said Sarah St-Amant. She was very much distraught on the news, with her sister and a couple of friends being Mme. Turner’s students at local dance studio. ‘I still can’t believe that just...happened. All in the while turning a corner in middle of Mount Pleasant….like how?’

‘I wish we all had the answer to that, but not sure we do.’ Bradley Coughlan-Chen responded, keeping himself to minimum of words. Not really part of the stereotypically-athletic crowd (he ran, but stayed out of contact sports), he wasn’t really close to the Heo siblings. Still, the sense of loss for one of their fellow crew was palpable enough.

‘Don’t think too much about it.’ Asher said, trying to stay focused. Unfortunately, a couple of full Makgeolri cups weren’t really helping him with it either. ‘We did our best. Dr. Heo was right in not telling Myeong-Shin the news.’

‘I agree with it too, but man. Dr. Heo is a tough, tough-ass man.’ Samuel responded, still amazed at how a parent would do his best to not tell the news. Being a son of Ngombatanean father and Quebecois mother, he grew up under a faithful Catholic background valuing family connections and found this quite surprising. Of course, this didn’t mean that the Turner-Heo’s were distant from one another- it was the very opposite and they all knew that with how invested the parents were in their two children. ‘Like...how? You gotta have the veins with all the cold and ice in the world to just defer it all. It was lucky his grandparents mentioned that to him, but man….I just don’t know.’

‘No. It was her who seduced his father. My dad used to tell me that she was a bad influence to Dr. Heo whenever she would draw his attention at the cafe his senior year…’

‘The opposite, actually. It was him who made moves on her first, like a fly. Of course, nobody took him seriously enough then.’

‘How dare you say such a libel about her husband?’

‘You don’t know this, Ian. Since when did your dad know their mum?’


As the crew drew a collective sigh, chatted and grabbed a couple of shots of Soju each, they heard a couple of teenagers, both with their school windbreakers, engaging in a shouting contest. The former, a scruffy haired, skinny kid, was Ian Lautner, junior Pater-Dei quarterback widely regarded as the number one football prospect his year, while the other was Theo Pinson, the Sangwon CVI outfielder best known by everybody as the longtime rival of Myeong-Shin since middle school level.

‘Hey hey,’ Asher gestured to them around here. ‘Come have drinks with us and just mourn for the guests.’

‘Alright.’
Last edited by The Royal Kingdom of Quebec on Sun Sep 06, 2020 10:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Wanderer's Guide To Somewhere: Megathread!

Happy 420 Friends!

2x World Cup, 2x Baptism of Fire, 2x Cup of Harmony, 5x World Cup of Hockey, 2x World Bowl and 2x International Basketball Championships Host

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