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Contemporary Fiction Writers

Examples of How You Use Subtext

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  • #136835
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    I love the idea of things hidden below the surface.  Of mysterious buried treasures, and ways to implant certain words or innuendos that have either a dual meaning or are indicative of an even larger mystery lurking beneath the surface action of the story.

    I was interested in how each of you uses the concept of subtext in your personal writing, or if you have a brief example of how subtext was used from one of your favorite authors.

    Last night, while scrolling through social media, I happened upon a comical quip made by one of my favorite authors, responding to the question:

    Q: What’s the hardest part of a book to write?
    A: Deciding whether to start with the word “The” or something more dramatic, like “Boom!”

    That passing joke started the gears in my head to turning, then churning, then spinning.  So I wrote the following, lines beginning with my preferred word choice:

    BOOM!
    Carl rose startled. The clock shrugged and seemed to say, “well, it wasn’t me?” with its green digital “3:04 AM” glow hiding its smirking face.
    The sleeping pill lingered, leaving an acidic taste. His face felt tight and stretched as if some sadistic bastard had hooked his eyelids to the mattress with fish hooks and a 10lb test line. “…where am I?” he asked no one, trying to clear his head of the soporific cobwebs.
    His stomach churned.
    A word lifted out of the fog. Clarified for a moment then sank under the surfeiting waves. “Chicago.”
    BOOM! BOOM!
    Carl then remembered. The red-eye flight. Trying to find a cab from O’Hare at 1:00 AM in the morning. The half-asleep hotel clerk. reading a flesh mag, when he’d trundled up to the Check-in counter. Two bags: one unwieldy shoulder bag, the other wheeled and clacking way too loud over the tile floor, annoying the sole occupant at the counter.
    “Welcome to Chicago,” the clerk said, yawning. “Checking in?”
    “No. I just thought I’d hang out in the lobby,” Carl had muttered.
    The look he received back, could’ve drawn blood.
    “Yeah. Just one night.”
    …coming back to the rude present, Carl sank back onto the pillow-topped sheet-covered brick bag.
    “Chicago,” he sighed. Turned over, and tried once again to find the whereabouts of the elusive “sandman.”

    So here’s the thing:

    This was all there was. Sometimes an odd scene will come to me and I just capture it, like a fleeting reflection on the window of a moving car.

    Not sure where it’s going, but if it generates questions, that is a good indication that it needs to be “chased” a little bit. 😉

    That’s often how inspiration goes with me.

    It brushes by me and if there is a question hook that catches me by surprise, it’ll reel me in after it.  If I get ahead of it, then I get lost, so I have to always be in “the pursuit position” rather than the lead position.  That is, at least, how it works with me as a writer.

    So, I’ve just learned to call this sort of thing “flash fiction.”  There may be another definition of the appropriated term here, but that’s how I define it. (Thank you, Burger King! 😉 What?! Too young to remember that commercial?  Well, all I can do is shrug 🤔 and say, “It’s in the subtext.”)

    I did throw in an obscure word that might look like a typo, but it actually wasn’t.
    The reference to “soporific” cobwebs…

    A soporific is something that is sleep-inducing. Certain medicines, but also extreme coziness, can have a soporific effect.

    There is an underlying creepiness to these being paired together.
    Anything wrapped in cobwebs & said to be “sleeping”, is most likely dying.  The presence of cobwebs, both real and metaphorical, indicates that somewhere there is a spider nearby.  (BACK off! Shelob!!! …annoying spider…😣)
    If one is “cozy” in the cobwebs, they must not be in their right mind, OR something else is influencing them to not be aware of their own peril. To sleep while the enemy eventually comes for them.  But there is something else mentioned prior that can be the culprit…namely, the lingering effects of the “sleeping pill”, he took that has the lingering acidic taste in his mouth upon waking suddenly due to the outside “BOOM”.
    Since this setting is Chicago, however, the gun violence in that city has become so commonplace lately, that it has become more of a characteristic of the city itself, rather than a feature that causes the expected alarm in someone not from there.
    But this is also something my subconscious reaches to point out.  The irony.  There are BOOMING signs all around us in our world that we have come to ignore and think of more as a characteristic of the place in which we live, rather than something that should wake us up and cause us to investigate the noises outside.
    Instead, our world just rolls over, lets the drug we have taken to “shut out” the noise, lure us back into “sleeping.”  The momentary reflection of memory does little to unsettle us.  Instead, we’d rather “pursue the sandman”.

    These are the deeper undercurrents of the slightly rippling surface water of this snapshot story.  Not sure many will get that, but I know you do appreciate the subtext.


    @daeus-lamb


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    @inklingflame


    @mischievous-thwapling


    @hobbitchild


    @kimlikesart


    @arindown


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    @nataliecone


    @this-is-not-an-alien


    @rose-colored-fancy

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #136862
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    YOU RANG? *heheheh*
    Oooh I love that clip of Chicago! Gave a perfect image of everything interesting, and kept a rather dull plot (some dude waking up in the middle of the night to normal ol’ Chicago gunshots :D) vivid and punchy and promising excitement.
    I have several ways I use subtext. In my current WIP I keep using the image of a doll both to forward the witchcraft underlying plot and to symbolize manipulation or someone being dehumanized and I also use the word “doll” to connect plotlines that I don’t want to outright state are connected because that would involve too much preemptive explaining. So anyway this bit starts it:

    He folded a paper doll, murmuring backwards as he worked, wizard spells inking through the fragile mote of shattered, soaked and dried wood making up burnished brown parchment. Paper dark eyes reflected light lifelessly as the pieces pulled together. Curling paper twisted into shape, with spindly parchment hair. A tiny red set of origami-like feathers netted in a small quiver for the soulless doll. Years ago.

    And then I connect it to a particular character (my MC):

    It’s the sort of rain like icicles that melts your bones. Been two years and nothing’s changed. Every sloshing clip clop sends a roller coaster through his heart. The shadowed lad coughs as his dripping cloak clings to his skin, clutching his sides and trying to muffle the sound. Everything a blur by now like looking through a foggy mirror. Down a dark street, mud tripping his torn boots. A susurrus echo rumbles under the pattering sound like fingers thumping on glass.
    Dead if they find him. Used like a child’s doll.

    I also used a lot of subtext to say he’s ill and close to unconsciousness without actually saying that and the image with the fingers felt more “haunted” to set the sort of “I feel like I’m being watched” feeling and slip into my POV’s paranoia and the sense of being hunted. I use a lot of subtext to prep plot twists too sometimes!

    Another thing I really wanted to describe my characters without it getting in the way of the plot so I wanted to “show” my character was a very anxious, very shy person with a lot of secrets so I did stuff like this throughout his POV time;

    Unsteady, with that weird sense of space and altered awareness from pain, Alessio glances warily along the inn before creeping down the staircase, clutching the rails for support. His thumb bumps the scar on his forehead thoughtlessly as he tugs the hood over his face. Ember eyes still in a daze focused on each step as if staring at no one would keep them from staring at him.
    Dry air bashes him the moment he steps outside, curling burnt tangles of hair into his eyes again, almost concealing his scar.

    And then I wanted to show more personality while normalizing his anxiety, and give a bit of a glimpse into his trauma and his twisted sense of humor too (I can go on and on and on and on about my cute little sarcastic and morbid sweet MC):

    Today the air is so brittle and thick it smells like hot kerosene. It doesn’t bother Alessio at all as long as he can breath air that isn’t caged. And so, the day manages to have the audacity to fry him while he has the audacity to be defiantly unbothered by it. Quite a situation there they both would’ve agreed.
    One thing that does bother Alessio though are the people coming and going through the dirt streets. It’s not busy but he’s not been out in the open this long for a while. Bright cloths. Most of them are dull, but he keeps noting flamboyant colors like the traveling striders wear. Ducking through a bazaar of woven rugs (“the best in Casumbra”) he touches edge of his hood as if it might have been jostled off by the atmosphere. “I feel like an imposter.” he thinks. He can hear some people draekon riding and some kids running and tossing a fur pelt across the road without looking up.
    “Excuse me, ma’am,” He whispers to a woman yelling at one of the kids to get back to the fields. “can you direct me to the Library please?”
    “Library who? Never heard it down here.” She says without bothering a glance at him until she’s scolded a boy for being irresponsible and not caring about their own well being. In the middle of it she trips and turns to him some irritably. “Say, would you keep your wulfling out of the way?”
    Alessio drops his gaze to the fuzzy reprobate that, yes, is still following him.
    “Ah–sorry. Thank you for your time.” He says, scooping up the wulfling. For some reason he feels followed, maybe because that’s his constant state. Alessio determinedly ignores it, trying hard to glare at the creature that keeps trailing him.
    “See, that’s exactly what I was talking about. This co-dependent relationship you want to establish won’t help either of us.” He sets it on the ground, propping himself on his heels and almost playfully tugging the corner of the wulfling’s floppy bat-ear. “You can’t really learn to love anyone if you don’t love yourself first, so stop looking to others to supply that love. Accept yourself and just be real–”
    “Are you… giving dating advice to a wulfling?” At the words Alessio stiffens slightly, unsuccessfully trying see the speaker through his peripheral vision through the hood of his cloak. Slowly he rises to his feet and slides his crisply dark eyes toward the voice, the man at the well earlier. Asrael, was it? In the heat of the day, Alessio can see a shiny edge of sweat along his thick muscles as the stranger seems to pretends to just be slouching off the wall of a building enclosing them. But there’s a very assessing air to his casually amiable demeanor.
    “Yes sir,” Alessio murmurs, tilting a rye look in his direction. “I’m afraid I lost my sanity with my naiveté.”

    …okok I just like talking about my MC (he’s adorable)!😂 But if any of that was useful statistically speaking…XD

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #136921
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Very cool topic! I love your use of subtext to imply the danger in the piece! It’s really interesting!


    @this-is-not-an-alien

    In my current WIP I keep using the image of a doll both to forward the witchcraft underlying plot and to symbolize manipulation or someone being dehumanized and I also use the word “doll” to connect plotlines that I don’t want to outright state are connected because that would involve too much preemptive explaining.

    Ooh, that’s so cool!! That’s awesome, I loved the imagery you used! Ahh, Alessio is so awesome! *Still wants to give him a hug*

     

    Ummm…. So you know when someone asks you about a specific thing of your WIP and the entire plot dissolves and you remember nothing, especially not where you used this or that?

    Yeah. That’s happening XD

    I did think of something that might work, though!

    In the second book of my WIP, (Not really spoilers, I’ll keep it very vague 😉 ) I found myself using blood symbolically very often. To be more specific, Liorah, my main character, has terrible nightmares and in almost every one, she notices that her hands are covered in blood.

    Here are some samples, one during the dream and one right after she woke up:

    Blood poured out of my arm, the scar once again a weeping wound. The blood singed my skin as it trickled over my fingers, dripping onto the stained ground. My sword was crimson. Why was there always so much blood?

     

    I looked down at my hands, expecting the wound on my arm to gape open in a mess of torn skin. Once again, it was only a pale line, barely visible in the moonlight.

    And this is later in the book. In this specific occurrence, she’s actually hallucinating because of {Indistinct mumbling}

    I buried my face in my hands, then recoiled as I felt something sticky smear over my face. I gasped. My hands were dripping with blood. I tried to scramble backward, instinctively.

    The blood wept from the wound in my arm and leaked through my fingers, dripping down my arms, smeared across my face. Hadn’t the cut long since healed?

    I frantically wiped my hands on my pants, staining them with scarlet streaks. The blood shimmered and morphed in unnatural ways, rippling and changing color from a deep burgundy to brightest crimson.

    All these instances are connected to a traumatic event that happened in the previous book, where she literally had blood on her hands. (The event where she got the aforementioned cut on her arm) So I kinda string all these dreams together via that one image. (Or at least, I will in later drafts. It’s a fairly recent idea XD)

    The blood also always implies two specific (but opposite) concepts. Guilt, and sacrifice.

    The guilt part is also connected to the phrase where ‘having blood on your hands’ literally means that you’re guilty of someone’s death.

    The sacrifice, as you all might have guessed, might be a referral to His ultimate sacrifice. (At least, I guess so. This only occurred to me a few days ago, I just thought it was neat.)

    The healed cut on her arm opening again during nightmares is also a way to imply that she has unhealed (emotional) wounds from that event.

    And, some time later, after she worked it out, check out what happened:

    I looked down at my hands, expecting to see them wet with blood. The blood was there, but it was dark and dry, already flaking off.

    The trauma isn’t gone, but it isn’t as recent as it was, and it’s the first step to healing.

    So, yeah. Lots of subtextual stuff. Also, some of these only occurred to me as I was writing this post. XD Anyway, that was probably the place where I used it most.

    *Rereads the post* Well, this was extremely dark. XD

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #136950
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @rose-colored-fancy

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Hi Rose and Cathy,

    Thank you Rose and Cathy for sharing your amazing examples. I have many examples of buried symbology in my WIP that are expounded upon and revealed later in the story.  The very place of “The Mid-World” and the Hidden Kingdom referred to as “Excavatia” all have this buried and later revealed symbology and subtext that contains many layers of subtext.  The “dead city” of “Azragoth” is symbolic of biblical Jerusalem in the “Surface World”.  The city has become a “haunt of jackals and wild donkeys” and has been overtaken and overgrown by the surrounding forest. It was left for dead, because of plague and was quarantined and abandoned for twenty years, by the dominating Xarmnian armies that tried to take over the commercial city and unwittingly unleashed the plague.  The city’s neglect of the sewage buildup underneath their city led in part to the plague as well.  The sewage and filth brought on the infestation of rats.  The Xarmnia’s hostile take over of the unguarded marketplace in the city, and the subsequent slaughtering of some of its citizens, refusing to let the captives recover the dead slain in their streets, leads to rat infestation into the water supply and nightly devouring the slain, cause the disease to break out.  The whole scenario is subtext both for its similarity of the fall of ancient Jerusalem, but also as a harbinger warning of a city unguarded and unconcerned about the corruption below its “streets”/consciousness.

    Sin, undealt with, leads to infestation and eventually becomes a plague upon a person, even if they seem to be the center of attention, and fairly successful.  Unconfessed sin will grow and leave a person susceptible to the invasion of the enemy and subsequent casualties of those we care about in our lives.

    Azragoth has a concentric design with an outer wall and a series of inner walls and appears dead and abandoned, lost to the overgrowth of the surrounding forest, with even the road overgrown and lost under the wild grasses.  But there is an inner-city, hidden by the outward appearance of the overgrown and dead and abandoned outer rings.  Within is a remnant of the citizenry that has survived the plague.  This concept was written and imagined back in 2017, long before the disturbing events of our modern time.

    It almost feels like this story was a portentous dream of our present times.

    It is this remnant that became the heart and secret headquarters of the resistance against the Xarmnian rule.  There is a series of underground networks and tunnels beneath the city so in a way these underground passages serve as a kind of subtext symbology, and it is this underground that is later exploited by another monstrous enemy.

    Rose your symbology of the Blood representing the duality of “guilt” and “sacrifice” is a powerful analogy, and the fact that these images and experiences come from Liorah’s dreams are also portentous.

    Cathy, the doll symbology is also chilling.  The manipulation is a kind of talisman voodoo doll, which is what the enemy attempt to plague real people with. Satan creates a mental caricature of us and plants it in our own minds, and then he abuses the representation of this idea of who we are and makes us feel small and victimized, presenting himself as a threat to us.  But our identity is truly and happily found in Christ himself, and his representation of us to us in his “doll” is not true.  When we discover that, Satan can no longer manipulate us by fear, or threaten us when we realize we are safely held and made secure by Christ Jesus.
    Bravo!

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #136984
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world
    Ooh I love your symbolism with dead city of Azragoth, it’s got so many layers and demonstrates how passive we are about the sins right in front of our noses while we judge distant crimes we may not be a part of physically but are in our complacency. Especially how unconfessed sin grows and wounds and eventually destroys us like lack of trust in a relationship.
    Also

    Within is a remnant of the citizenry that has survived the plague.  This concept was written and imagined back in 2017, long before the disturbing events of our modern time. It almost feels like this story was a portentous dream of our present times.

    Bwahahahaha! “Avoid it like the plague” is a saying we can use no more because apparently humans don’t.
    But it really is crazy how so many writers are able to do that, I’ve heard so many stories about stories being written and it turning out like a prophecy. I guess it just goes to show how we can see things coming from a miles away and still blind ourselves.

    Cathy, the doll symbology is also chilling.  The manipulation is a kind of talisman voodoo doll, which is what the enemy attempt to plague real people with. Satan creates a mental caricature of us and plants it in our own minds, and then he abuses the representation of this idea of who we are and makes us feel small and victimized, presenting himself as a threat to us.  But our identity is truly and happily found in Christ himself, and his representation of us to us in his “doll” is not true.  When we discover that, Satan can no longer manipulate us by fear, or threaten us when we realize we are safely held and made secure by Christ Jesus.

    That’s exactly it! You said it better than I could!!
    One of the devil’s most effective lies is accusing us of a sin so often that we fall into it, or if we don’t we’re so preoccupied with not being found guilty of it that take our attention off God, off Love and kindness toward others. Good deeds become a guilt-response to poor self-image and not acts of love, the fear of being evil makes us do evil or at least fail to do good. At that point we don’t even see people as people but we see them as dolls as well; means to an end, a way to do our good works to feel better or receive assurance or approval.

     


    @rose-colored-fancy

    Oh no! Poor Liorah!!
    Lol she’s tough she’ll get through it. Just don’t send Faye into the desert alone!!! :D. Like @obrian-of-the-surface-world said the blood symbology is really powerful! And it works perfect for PTSD, the dual symbolism is really fantastic it’s like how God takes evil and turns it to good <3

    Ummm…. So you know when someone asks you about a specific thing of your WIP and the entire plot dissolves and you remember nothing, especially not where you used this or that? Yeah. That’s happening XD

    LOL IKR!

    Ooh, that’s so cool!! That’s awesome, I loved the imagery you used! Ahh, Alessio is so awesome! *Still wants to give him a hug*

    Lol, thanks!! I love my little morbid cupcake, he deserves a lot of hugs… ooh maybe we RP that idk how he would react to you hugging him; depends on his mood, the weather, the alignment of the stars lol XD

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #137030
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world
    It’s so interesting how the city is literally rotting from the inside out with corruption! That’s really cool symbolism!

    Rose your symbology of the Blood representing the duality of “guilt” and “sacrifice” is a powerful analogy, and the fact that these images and experiences come from Liorah’s dreams are also portentous.

    Thank you! The sacrifice part actually didn’t occur to me until I was writing that post, but it works in multiple ways. Dreams (Albeit not overused) can be amazing for symbolism. Even the fact of the character frequently having nightmares/dreams can be an indicator that they have something they won’t face consciously.

    Also, I find it very amusing how there’s another writer who’s writing a plague/pandemic. There are a lot of stories that include pandemics, or maybe I just notice them more. It does make good conflict!


    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Oh no! Poor Liorah!! Lol she’s tough she’ll get through it. Just don’t send Faye into the desert alone!!! :D.

    LOL, I see what you did there XD For your information, I did make Faye cross the entire desert all by her lonesome self. More than once. *Evil laughter* The great overwhelming emptiness and the constant threats are way more effective on her than on Liorah, who regards it as the norm.

    Like obrian-of-the-surface-world said the blood symbology is really powerful! And it works perfect for PTSD, the dual symbolism is really fantastic it’s like how God takes evil and turns it to good <3

    Thank you! That’s exactly it! There’s one particular scene where you can just see the meaning shift completely and it was so cool! (At least… hopefully. That was the goal XD)

    Lol, thanks!! I love my little morbid cupcake, he deserves a lot of hugs… ooh maybe we RP that idk how he would react to you hugging him; depends on his mood, the weather, the alignment of the stars lol XD

    LOL, I’m totally going to get stabbed! Don’t worry, most of my characters would stab me willingly by this point XD Or at any point actually XD *More evil laughter*

     

    I can’t believe I forgot to mention the yellow dress! It’s probably the most recurring and noticeable use of subtext and symbolism in the second book.

    Liorah does quite a lot of embroidery, (Don’t tease her about it. Someone did once and she said it was proof she had the patience to stab something thousands of times.)

    Throughout the second book, she’s working on embroidering the bodice of a bright yellow dress. She started this dress shortly after the traumatizing events of book one. (And the situation in book two is definitely worse) so the bright, sunny yellow dress is a very glaring contrast with the bleak surroundings.

    Here’s one of the first mentions of it:

    “How far are you on that dress? The lovely yellow one?” She (Sahar) said, brightening.
    “It’s almost finished, but I still don’t know how you convinced me. It’s so… bright.” I said, doubtfully.
    “But yellow looks so nice on you,” Sahar said,

    The interesting thing about this (And many following passages) is that Liorah outright comments on how bright the dress is. It’s too hopeful, too happy, too beautiful for the situation. She feels as though nothing beautiful can exist in such a horrible world, as though it’s a cruel joke.

    She works on the dress on and off throughout the story, and she often regrets that she ever started it or thinks about how poorly it suits the situation. But she doesn’t give up on it, as though she’s unconsciously holding on to the fact that things will get better and there are still beautiful things.

    After another event, she finally abandons the dress, when it’s very nearly finished. She’s finally given up hope.

    A few chapters later, Faye, the other main character, finds the dress and you get this short scene:

    It was the lovely dress Liorah had been working on, abandoned in a corner. The embroidery was all but done, but it had an air of hopelessness, as though Liorah had given up on it. The fabric, once bright yellow, was now streaked with ash and dust, faded in the face of the fire.

    I examined it, but it had somehow escaped the flames. It was just dirty, not ruined.

    I bit the inside of my cheek. Should I do it?

    Before I could change my mind, I searched through Ceren’s (One of the horses) saddlebags and found Liorah’s sewing material.

    I clearly saw the pattern Liorah had been making on the front panel. The geometric pattern was outlined in small, nearly invisible stitches to mark where everything would go. There was only a small section left.

    I threaded the needle with sea-green thread and began stitching, matching my stitches to hers. I had never expected Liorah to be capable of such neat, tedious work, but she was as skilled with a needle as my sister Raisa.

    I worked on the dress, changing the thread as the patterns appeared beneath my fingertips. Dusty rose and sea-green, bright teal and violet.

    The sun cast fleeting, translucent rays of molten gold across my work, dappling my hands and casting shadows on my work.

    I turned the dress over and knotted the thread on the last pattern. I held it up in front of me. The sunlight-yellow gown glowed in the warm light of the sunset, the bright patterns dancing across the bodice. The skirt swept out gracefully. I smiled, my eyes stinging with sudden bittersweetness.

    During all the long days of waiting, the anxiety, the worry, the nightmares and the fear, Liorah had created something beautiful, and it had been my honor to finish it.

    It was a fleeting idea at first because I once made an artwork of Liorah in a bright yellow dress, then the idea kept recurring. I need to expand and refine it, but I quite like the symbolism.

     

     

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #137033
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @rose-colored-fancy

    Rose,

    I love that yellow dress analogy!  Subtle interplay of hope. Very well done!  Nice finishing touch having Faye completing it. Bravo!


    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Cathy,

    Ooh I love your symbolism with dead city of Azragoth, it’s got so many layers and demonstrates how passive we are about the sins right in front of our noses while we judge distant crimes we may not be a part of physically but are in our complacency. Especially how unconfessed sin grows and wounds and eventually destroys us like lack of trust in a relationship.

    It goes even deeper than that, because when the remnant survive the plague, they purge the city by burning the outer rings, and courtyards, and they form a bi-monthly ritual where the city’s hidden inhabitants ritually cleanse the city gutters with pole weapons called monk blades, which become deadly poisoned weapons they can use against enemies.  These blades cleanse the under pavement gutters until they reach a reservoir in cavity in the lower dead city’s outer wall.  If the wall is ever breeched again by an army they are in for a nasty surprise.  The “black tongue” of the city will literally deluge the field of battle and infect the assault groups with plagued filth. spilling toxins down through the surrounding trees and yellow grasslands.  The ritualistic cleansing is symbolic of the city’s confession and commitment to never let their sins and neglect overtake them again.  Confessed sin then becomes an asset, because it falls back on the accusers and condemners that besiege the city.  Chapter 22 – “The Black Tongue of The City” in my WIP covers this aspect.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #137117
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    It goes even deeper than that, because when the remnant survive the plague, they purge the city by burning the outer rings, and courtyards, and they form a bi-monthly ritual where the city’s hidden inhabitants ritually cleanse the city gutters with pole weapons called monk blades, which become deadly poisoned weapons they can use against enemies.  These blades cleanse the under pavement gutters until they reach a reservoir in cavity in the lower dead city’s outer wall.  If the wall is ever breeched again by an army they are in for a nasty surprise.  The “black tongue” of the city will literally deluge the field of battle and infect the assault groups with plagued filth. spilling toxins down through the surrounding trees and yellow grasslands.  The ritualistic cleansing is symbolic of the city’s confession and commitment to never let their sins and neglect overtake them again.  Confessed sin then becomes an asset, because it falls back on the accusers and condemners that besiege the city.  Chapter 22 – “The Black Tongue of The City” in my WIP covers this aspect.

    Oooh that’s a good analogy!! Like how Christ takes our sinfulness and turns it into something fruitful and something that results in a great good, like how He allowed the Original Sin and turned it into the story of His Love to the point of dying for us. And that they continue to ritualistically cleanse the city especially because it’s a constant work for change on earth and we can’t lax just because we confessed once or confess all our sins but stay attached to some.

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #137136
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Hi Cathy,

    Absolutely. Here is the essence of what is happening, as the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian Christians:

    So then, dear friends, since we have these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. … For even if I grieved you with my letter, I don’t regret it. And if I regretted it ​– ​since I saw that the letter grieved you, yet only for a while ​– ​ I now rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance. For you were grieved as God willed, so that you didn’t experience any loss from us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death. For consider how much diligence this very thing ​– ​this grieving as God wills ​– ​has produced in you: what a desire to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what deep longing, what zeal, what justice! In every way you showed yourselves to be pure in this matter. So even though I wrote to you, it was not because of the one who did wrong, or because of the one who was wronged, but in order that your devotion to us might be made plain to you in the sight of God. [2 Corinthians 7:1, 8-12 CSB]

    Confession is the recognition of what additional sins we permit to come between us and our relationship with Christ Jesus.

    James reduces the concept of what sin is down to its essence:

    Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. [James 4:17 NLT]

    Paul writes of the new nature, that God puts into a person who accepts Him as Lord and Savior:

    Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. [Colossians 3:10 NLT]

    It is the struggle of these two natures that Paul alludes to when he writes:

    But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. [Romans 7:23 KJV]

    The new nature in us is what is being perfected and is taking over the territory lost, under the confidence of the finished work of Christ.  When Jesus becomes the Lord and Savior of the life of a person, they are held in Him, but there is still the perfecting work to be done that conforms them by their faith into His image.  That is why a person who is a Christian still struggles with the natures of the dead person (their flesh) and the new heart on awakened Spirit made alive by their faith in Christ.

    How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. [Galatians 3:3-5 NLT]

    Kind of like in the Matrix movie, “Neo” awakens to what is really going on in the “real world”, by choosing to take the “red pill”.  Satan is at war with the saints, but those who remain asleep are safely tucked away into his web of deception.  He is only threatened by those who become aware of what really if happened around them in the hidden realm.  They awaken to the war.  Those asleep and oblivious are his, those awakened and joining in the resistance are the called-out ones who Christ has liberated, by paying the ransom for them, when they accept his sacrifice as their own.

    Salvation is only the awakening after taking the “red pill”, representing His shed blood at the Cross of Calvary.  But once awakened, we are an instant threat.  We take up the arms and armament that Paul describes in his letter to the Ephesians:

    Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. [Ephesians 6:11 NIV]

    The Book of Ezekial in two places talks about this new nature and this promise.

    I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. [Ezekiel 36:26 NIV]

    It is that new nature and new heart of flesh that has the capacity to fellowship as fully justified with God Himself and to discern and recognize the discipline of the Lord.

    I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. [Ezekiel 36:26 NIV]

    It is this blessed new nature that gives us spiritual insight and discernment because it is attuned to the “mind of Christ”.

    But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. [1 Corinthians 2:15-16 KJV]

    It is supernatural armament that prepares us in coverings as we contend with the defeated enemies of this world and or areas in our own hearts where we still struggle with the tug of the old nature.

    For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he [is] Christ’s, even so [are] we Christ’s. [2 Corinthians 10:3-7 KJV]

    Azragoth /Az-Rah-Gawth/ – In Israeli, the name Azra means – pure. In Israeli, the name Gath means – a wine-press. Hence, Azragoth means, Pure Wine-Press. The New Wine, pressed out of trouble and crushing.

    Here is the key verse related to the City itself.
    The LORD will answer and say to His people, “Behold, I am going to send you grain, new wine and oil, And you will be satisfied [in full] with them; And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations. … The threshing floors will be full of grain, And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil. [Joel 2:19, 24 NASB]
    “But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. [Luke 5:38 NASB]

    In my WIP, Azragoth represents a type of “Jerusalem”.  My WIP is not an allegory, but it does have very definite types and archetypes that foreshadow and are represented in part and correlated to the biblical events and places in the “Surface World”.  The Mid-World is meant to darkly mirror both the world we recognize and live in and the metaphysical landscape of the human heart/soul.
    Azragoth, having been reduced to a ghost town and left for dead in the Mid-World, mirrors the A.D. 90 invasion and sacking of Jerusalem in history. But God promised Jerusalem would “after becoming a haunt of jackals” (Jeremiah 9:11) would eventually rise again.  The same fate will come to Babylon (Jeremiah 51:37), but unlike Jerusalem, it will never rise after its desolation.
    Every time God punished the sins of His prodigal people, He called them to repentance and to turn back to Him, and He would accept and restore them.  This practice of confession, mirrored by this ritual is how repentance looks.  Even though the vile sludge is under the city pavements, the remnant of the city, lift what is underneath their feet and move the filth to down the gutter to the front reservoir of the city, outside of the inner city.
    Jesus said:

    Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. [Luke 9:23 NLT]

    “Taking up your cross” is essentially confessing any lingering sin that your new nature recognizes as hindering your fellowship with the Holy Spirit.  This exercise in the story’s ritual represents and dramatizes that practice.
    It is also important to note Azragoth is the very heart of the training ground for the Resistance that is moving against the forces and fortress of darkness that occupy the Mid-World.  This is why these Resistance fighters, must purify their camp from the diseases that came from them neglecting their personal hygienic conditions that led to the plagues’ outbreak. They have learned that they must purge their lives and their city to strengthen it and keep it healthy mentally and physically for the training they are involved in for the warfare that is ahead of them.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

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