do I laugh or do I cry

(no subject)

Soooo... I could really use some advice.

It's late, and I can't sleep, which is probably why I'm posting instead of doing something sane like just coping with it, b-but hey. I figure there's the chance, with all the characters that all these people have played, that someone else has had a similar problem and can advise.

So, during the time that Alec's app was up, I was under some stress, both in game-related ways and in RL-related ways -- nobody's fault but mine, I know, but there it is. It was a hard app with a very borderline period and some intense analysis in the comments from voters (reasonable, again, but stressful!), there was other stuff going on, and a move and financial/job-related troubles, and loss of worldly goods, and post-con blahs and a dozen other things, and it all added together to mean that during that day that my app was up I was totally miserable and not coping with life well at all, etc etc.

Well, things have cleared up on all ends, but it feels like a, I dunno, pall that's accompanied my play of Alec. Like, I love Alec in the books -- I adore him and Seregil, and I enjoy playing Alec and think I've found a good voice for him. But I'm not comfortable; I feel like on some level I've, I dunno, managed to associate the feelings from that bad day with playing Alec, so even while I like having him and enjoy playing him, there is always some level of stress that automatically happens, and a constant running mental separation. Which -- okay, weirdness time, but when I play I'm usually not thinking about how other people are viewing it; I assume my thread is being read, but I play from the other side and tune out the reader's presence. When I'm playing Alec, though, I'm constantly thinking how I look, and getting... I guess a kind of stage fright. Post fright? It's a really weird feeling even just having him because half of me is going "ee! Alec! :D" and the other have is going "O-oh god orz"

So... if anyone else has ended up in this mental state where they, like, associate stress or depression with having/playing a character, do you have any advice? How did you get past it, if you did? Just growing accustomed to the character's presence?

Also, I'm not sure what to do with the thieving/spying thing -- he doesn't steal indiscriminately, he's very much "having a target" sort of guy. Ie, he works on hire -- either as a "Watcher", sent to investigate by the Queen's top man, or as a thief-for-hire. He'd want to investigate the director and camp... but breaking into the director's office has been done before (many moons ago) and I'm pretty sure the director's office isn't considered 'inside' camp any more; she's inaccessible from the inside is how I usually see it. Other than that, I had hoped to bring out the Rhiminee Cat idea, but as of yet that idea's had zero interest. Which is fine, but does mean one less avenue for exploring the Nightrunner side that's IC and a regular canon habit of his. I don't want to neglect the Nightrunner side of Alec, because it's a big deal to him and a huge focus in the books, and without it I'm feeling kind of :/, but with the two most IC/natural choices being difficult in camp, I'm not quite sure how to handle it. Suggestions for that, too, are totally welcome.

Thanks in advance; I know this is a kind of weird bit of player "o-orz", and I'm grateful for anything anyone can suggest. :)
z right on target

crit post!

Since there was a LOT of discussion in the voting post about Alec and Seregil's apps, I'm putting a crit post here so if anybody has anything they want to bring up, you can feel free to do it here.

Comments are screened!
i see what you're doing there

Stats & Permissions meme

Age: 17, appears around 14-15
Height: around Seregil's height, 5'2" or so
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blond, tends towards a bit overgrown
Physical traits: Of a size with Seregil and with a great deal of growing left to do, Alec is however filling out a bit better, his shoulders broadening and chest filling out etc. In a few years (or, given his blood, a few and then a few MORE), he'll probably be a decently-sized man if a bit on the slender side due to his faie blood. He's definitely somewhat developed in the upper body as he's a fantastic archer and spent almost all his childhood on the plains, trapping and catching animals for food and trade.
What's NOT Okay To Mention Around Him: Human sacrifice and the resurrection of dark gods will definitely make him inclined to kill you now before bad shit happens (he was, unfortunately, witness to mass human sacrifice for that very purpose). You can mention just about anything because Alec's biggest, number one skill is coping with anything that's happening and just forcing his way on to deal with things. I'd prefer it not be mentioned that he's fictional, though.
Abilities: Nightrunning -- B&E, climbing, lock-picking, all manner of slight of hand, disguise, and acting. Both he and Seregil are used to changing things like expressions and tones of voice and diction to come across as completely different people as the situation calls for it. He's also a good singer. He's a fantastic archer -- I'm pretty sure he almost never misses a shot that he chooses not to miss and early in the first book he earns himself permission to own one of the near-legendary Black Radly bows, which people have to pass a difficult archery test to even be allowed to buy. In the third book he spends a lot of time in archery contests and tests of skill, and ends up covered in winning charms, pretty much. He's okay with a sword and a knife and has no magical abilities. He also has the extremely rare ability to make Seregil see sense.
Notes for the Psychics: You CAN go into his mind if you want, because Alec is fairly constantly a badtouched kind of guy, but it will probably bring back trauma as he was very recently mentally tortured and psychically raped for information by a mind-reader.
Can I shapeshift/bodyswap/spit at/step on/etc?: No problem! Just talk to me.
Maim/Murder/Death: I don't really want Alec to die if it can be at all avoided, but I'm okay with having him get into fights and hurt in them. Just note that if it's that heavy a fight, and he has his bow, he is really good with the bow and doesn't hesitate to shoot to kill when lives are on the line.
Cooking: He can do it! He's been catching game and cooking it most of his life, but most of what he can cook is pretty basic country fare -- rabbits on spits, venison stew, that kind of thing. He also is slowly learning how to eat like just about anyone from any level of society, but upper-class shellfish eating still terrifies him.
Kissing/Hugging: Oh, absolutely. Seregil won't like it, but it's just what happens to Alec. I'm not even kidding that his very first scene in the second book has a young woman mistaking him for her secret lover, grabbing his hand, and making him grope her naked body all over until he kisses her to get her to let go and can escape. So basically go for it. But you may have an irritated Nightrunner wanting to get back at you after.
it's a mad world my masters

Alec's age

Some of you have probably noticed my PB is a young teen! But Alec is 17 at the end of Stalking Darkness. An explanation!

Although he didn't know it at first, Alec's half-faie. Everyone who's known faie figure it out just about the moment they see him, but Alec's a country boy from the north to whom faie are pretty much a ... well, a fairy tale. He was very excited to meet someone who knew faie (Seregil neglected to inform Alec at first that Seregil was faie, also) but skeptical of the fact that faie live for hundreds of years; they're just stories to him at first, before he gets out more into the wide world.

"But they are real?" Alec persisted; this was more than Seregil had let on previously. "Have you ever seen any? What are they like?"

Seregil smiled.. "Not so different from you and me, really."

lol Seregil.

Anyway, so. Since they live hundreds of years and age extremely slowly, they tend to look younger than they are. Seregil is "not much older than Alec" and "looks like a man of twenty" and is just about sixty years old. By his own people's reckoning, he's still a child, and in Traitor's Moon there's a certain amount of disjoint from the faie who knew him, as they see him acting so grown up from living with humans and watching them age and die.

Alec, however... well, I take Alec from a chronological year before Traitor's Moon, but here's a quick excerpt from when his age comes up there... he's sitting at a table with two kids who look barely into their teens if that. The girl, who looks maybe 14, is showing off.

"And I'm only twenty-two!"

"Twenty-two?" Alec turned to Mial in surprise. "And you?"

The young Aurenfaie grinned. "Thirty. How old are you?"

"Almost nineteen," Alec replied, suddenly feeling a bit strange.

Mial stared at him a moment, then nodded. "It's the same with some of our half-breed cousins; you mature much faster at first. You might want to keep your age to yourself once you get over the mountains, though. The purer clans don't understand [half-breeds] the way we do here. The last thing your [beloved] needs is another scandal."

Alec felt his face go warm. "Thank you. I'll keep that in mind.

Of course, that has to do with how maturity is perceived, not how Alec physically looks. Earlier books, however, shows that! For example, when Alec and Seregil first meet at the start of the first book, Seregil assumes Alec isn't old enough to be out on his own -- and in a pre-industrial society, that's pretty much prepubescent.

"How old are you, anyway? You look young to be roaming around all by yourself."

"Sixteen last summer," Alec replied a bit gruffly. He was often taken for younger than he was.

Now, the thing is... sixteen looks young. If you look distinctly younger than sixteen, enough to surprise someone, it's probably because they look at least two to three years younger. (A sixteen-year-old being mistaken for being fifteen is no big surprise, after all).

Moreover, it is strongly implied that Alec hasn't hit puberty until the second book (he's sixteen over both the first and second book, only 17 when some time is ellipsed at the end of the second). In the first book, he is constantly referred to as boy, and when he, Seregil, and Micum are wanted men, their would-be captors are looking for "two men and a boy". He passes as a noblewoman's squire for a while, which implies he at least looks prepubescent, as a sexually mature boy alone taking care of a noblewoman is a definite no-no. And Seregil himself implies that Alec is pre-pubescent when he first introduces Alec to the concept of whorehouses -- Alec is shocked to find same-sex whorehouses in the district as well as opposite-sex, and Seregil teases him, "By the four, haven't you heard the saying, 'Never spurn the dish untasted'? And here you haven't even had a smell of the kitchen yet!" This seems, at least to me, to imply that Seregil's pointing out that he shouldn't decide what he does and doesn't like to eat if he's never been hungry -- in other words, don't decide his sexual preferences before he's ever felt lust. (Of course, Seregil also seems perfectly content to think that in the right environment, Alec'll learn to feel lust and fast; he suggests they go back to the whorehouses, and soon -- they do, in book two. So Alec is obviously an age that's on the verge of puberty, right between child and teen).

It's definitely in his sixteenth year, I'd say, that Alec hits puberty. Watching a friend breastfeed her baby goes from extremely awkward discomfort for him to a daily pleasure and he definitely starts getting interested in girls as his sixteenth year passes (again, he's sixteen through the majority of both first two books). He's definitely reached sexual maturity by the time he's, um, date-raped by a hot foreign sorceress, and visits a whorehouse now and then (after wacky hijinks where he once followed Seregil into the wrong one). He's still sixteen when he starts to get attracted to Seregil, and he's 17 by the time he's in a committed relationship with him.

So, essentially, the age of hitting puberty/sexual growth is physically at sixteen for Alec, when it's more at 13-14 for most boys; hence, I figure that's probably how much younger he looks than his physical age and why I chose a young teen for a PB.

....I feel like this is somehow more convoluted than I set out to have it be. XD
zz precious to someone


The Rhíminee Cat

During our apps, and the resulting comments, some of you may have noticed references to something called the Rhíminee Cat. This is, essentially, Seregil and Alec's identity as thieves. You see, Seregil came to the city of Rhíminee, had a bunch of things happen, and eventually decided to become a gentleman thief of a sort. He soon had it passed around that if you leave discreet inquiries with the right people, you can get a message to the mysterious and anonymous Rhíminee Cat (a hideous person nobody would ever want to meet in person, of course), and get your illicit business conducted for a modest fee. Once Seregil took in and trained Alec, Alec too became the Rhíminee Cat -- the two of them divide up the easier jobs and work together on the harder ones.

The thing is, it's also not just thieving! As long as it involves something sneaky, usually B&E, the Rhíminee Cat will take the job. They will take work ranging from vitally important theft of the documents of nobles, to the retrieval of unfortunately implicating letters before they could smear the name of a noblewoman, to delivering a love token from a youth to the young girl he's wooing.

Once Alec and Seregil have settled into camp a little, a discreet ballot box (or something of the sort) will be appearing in the mess hall, and situations will be arranged so we can start introducing the Fuck You Cat, which is perhaps unfortunately named. The Cat will be glad to handle your business for you. ♥

We aren't going to start it up just yet -- again, we're going to wait until they're a bit settled in -- but I thought I'd open this post now. Feel free to leave your requests for the aid of some professional sneaks and second-story men, no business to large and no business too small. When we get to that point, we'll work it out with everyone who'd be involved and get an IC post/thread going for it.

Comment here with your requests of the Cat!