The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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spnfic: it's the stars that lie, 1 & 2/11
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Title: It's the Stars that Lie, 1 & 2/11
Author: Seperis
Series: Down to Agincourt, Book 2
Codes: Dean/Castiel
Rating: R
Summary: We fight, we lose, everyone dies anyway, I know. However, I don’t see why, if we're going to fight anyway, we shouldn't believe we're going to win.
Author Notes: Thanks to nrrrdygrrrl and obscureraison for beta services, with advice from lillian13, scynneh, and norabombay.
Thanks to bratfarrar for the series name and summary from her sonnet Harry Takes the Field.
Spoilers: Seasons 5, 6, and 7

Series Links:
AO3 - Down to Agincourt
Book 1: Map of the World

Story Links:
AO3 - All, Chapter 1, Chapter 2
DW - Chapter 1, Chapter 2

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So, what don't you like about the series title?

Honestly? I'm not sure how to explain it. It's kind of generic, for one, and two, it's fatalistic. It also de-emphasizes what I want the series to be about, which is the people who fight and why they fight instead of the event.

Sure, this is do or die, end of the world or bust, but everyone is living and building lives despite that and even because of it, and that's a big theme I'm working on in this. All of them at Chitaqua and spoiler and spoiler and (spoilers like alot) aren't just people fighting a war; they're people with shitty hair days and relationship drama and marriages and babies and gambling problems and incense fetishes.

To put it another way: the episode "The End" would fit this title if I was continuing the same mindset, but Dean's arrival here wasn't just a restart of the Apocalypse; it's a catalyst for changing the entire scope of the war. They're not fighting against Lucifer; they're fighting for their world and their lives and their families and that's very different. I feel like this series title is about the end game and that's all that matters; what I'm trying to write is that the end game can't be fought or won unless you know how and why you're going there.

....I could sound more pretentious, but I can't see how. God. If you have suggestions using that idea, I would love to hear them.

Half the reading material I'm packing is to see if I can come up with something better for you.

No promises, but we'll see what I can manage....

This is because you are magic.

If by "magic" you mean "more than a little obsessed", then yes. :P

But also it's fun, and I'd been meaning to read this stuff anyway, so it's a pleasant diversion from a sometimes ... tense extended-family vacation. Of course, now I find that every other sonnet seems to be applicable to Dean and Cas, so I'm not sure what to make of that....

I'll be doing the extended family vacation mon-fri next week, so I feel you. Last year, the complex lost wifi, which was stressful. I did a lot of duolingo and napping and staring at the ocean.

Lo and behold, cabin in the middle of the woods has a neighbor with crappy wifi, so here I am. (Don't tell anyone.)

Two things so far--don't know if either will spark anything title-wise, but they echo a bit thematically, so here 'tis:

Here's Henry V's response to the French herald on the eve of the battle of Agincourt, when the odds looked to be overwhelmingly again the English:
We are but warriors for the working-day;
Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd
With rainy marching in the painful field;
There's not a piece of feather in our host--
Good argument, I hope, we will not fly--
And time hath worn us into slovenry:
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim;
And my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night
They'll be in fresher robes, or they will pluck
The gay new coats o'er the French soldiers' heads
And turn them out of service. If they do this,--
As, if God please, they shall,--my ransom then
Will soon be levied. Herald, save thou thy labour;
Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald:
They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints;
Which if they have as I will leave 'em them,
Shall yield them little, tell the constable.

....I'm weirdly tempted by "Agincourt'. I don't know why.

Well, from what you've said obliquely in your comments, it would work: in the Shakespearean version, at least, everyone either believed the French would win or strongly worried that they might, even as Henry was making speeches convincing his men that they would carry the day.

And then the French got stomped, despite having the advantage of numbers and brute strength. So....

It even has the benefit of being the last campaign (if I remember correctly) before they could go home again. Yes, from after the battle: "And then to Calais; and to England then: Where ne'er from France arrived more happy men."

In any case it's certainly better than the current series title. (Another fun parallel: the leader sneaking around in disguise, even though for Dean it's a permanent one.)

Ah, I'm being lured away from the wifi (which keeps cutting out every 2 minutes) by fresh eggbread. Will probably be back later.

There are a couple of phrases there that could work, but I particularly like "Our hearts are in the fighting trim" and "none but these my joints", both of which seem fairly fitting for our heroes.

Another bit of Shakespeare that caught my eye is one of his sonnets, which starts out "Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now", and could basically serve as description of the early days between Dean and Cas in Map of the World. Not precisely title material, perhaps, but I don't have anyone else to share this with and so am shoving it off on you.

One last one: "The oracles are dumb", from Hymn on Christ's Nativity by Milton. Doesn't pick up on the idea that they're fighting for instead of against something, but does suggest that everything's up in the air: they're past prophecies at this point.

Just to give warning, I will continue throwing stuff at you as I come across it until you tell me to stop.

I don't have a problem with this!

Example: "It's the Stars That Lie" came from when I was thinking of Romeo saying 'then I defy you, stars!'. I came up against the same problem in theme; prophecy guides lives, he's going to defy what it says, and that's not quite right. I went with prophecy is a lie; belief is what fills it, not its existence. You're on a path you have to take or try not to; you're defining your actions by a binary choice. Once you know it's a lie, you can see a thousand paths before you. The only thing that can bind you is yourself. It's very much the opposite about what Cas said to Dean in Map of the World about being limited by what you are and have chosen to do and being unable to see other options.

...I think too much sometimes.

I had a comment; the wifi ate it. Hm. Let me reconstruct:

You don't think too much, unless by "think too much" you mean "write an excellent story that beats the pants off 90+% of published fiction, which can be read multiple times and become richer with each rereading".

Oh, Romeo! I was trying to figure the reference for that title. So Agincourt would fit right in. I'm going to have to reread Map of the World for that conversation specifically (oh, what hardship!).

Romeo+Juliet, which is my favorite of R&J adaptation, had Leonardo's utter rage saying that line that stuck with me for years.

Oh God, I have a star comparison theme: here me out.

Cas rebelling was pretty much the equivalent of snarling that line at the Host (replacing stars).

Cas Falling was 'fuck the stars' and drinking himself into ignoring them.

By the beginning of Maps, he's at 'we're fucked by the stars'.

So it feels like progress!

Agincourt is really working for me, but I'm not sure as a single word, so throwing it around. Also, reading Henry V, because why not?

Argh! Another almost-completed comment eaten. I'm looking forward to returning home tonight, with my nice, fast, reliable Fios connection. (I hope you have better wifi on your jaunt.)

I went back and did a word search, and the word "fate" crops up all over Map of the Stars, almost always referenced by Cas (in dialog, so it's not just a POV thing). I'm betting that won't be true of It's the Stars That Lie.

For Agincourt, could beef it up to "The Battle of Agincourt", or, depending on how much you want to spell things out, "The English Won at Agincourt". If I had a copy of Shakespeare/better wifi, I'd start looking through the play for references to the place that didn't use the name, but that'll have to wait for tonight, I fear.

"Why not?" is always an excellent reason for reading Henry V. It's probably tied for my favorite of his plays with Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night. (I did two of my annual essays in college on Henry V and his deliberate self-creation; my absolute favorite character, hands-down, no contest.)

Cas is definitely making progress, mostly due to Dean (not2014!Dean) serving as a catalyst, both deliberately and not. It's fascinating to chart through Map--there are a whole bunch of conversations that serve sort of as pivot points, or branchings-off as Cas accepts that there must be more options, just because Dean says so, even though Dean hasn't yet figured out what they are. The trust/faith is breathtaking, and even more so because Dean (and perhaps Cas as well) doesn't realize that's what's going on.

The outcome's known. Why try?
Return your rusty sword to battered sheath,
bow your head and bend your stubborn knee. Why
take the field when you cannot win the war?
But Harry -- he went down to Agincourt.


Down to Agincourt is, I think, the title. That's kind of perfect as summary and title right there.

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