Thursday, July 18, 2013

Insert Overly Long and Descriptive Title Here

"Hey Em, I need you to do me a favour. Give this to Tashy, and whatever you do, don't let anyone else see it."
Emily looked up from her depiction of suffrage in the eighteen thirties, to see her adoptive mother looking even more harried than usual.

"Sure," said Emily. "But why..."

She was cut off by Hati leaving the room, and seemingly vanishing into thin air. Putting down her paintbrush, Emily resigned herself to an evening that would not be spent exploring the finer points of impressionism.


The non-geographically precise sea upon which Ardelisa's ship floated was almost impossible to navigate in the pitch-darkness of the Count de Vinevil fandom. From an age where overly descriptive scenery was an unpopular choice, the novella's world offered little in the way of moon or stars or anything else which would have been useful as a navigating tool. Ironically, it was only the treasury keeper's vehement insistence that Hati enter the fandom with a small one-man sailboat, rather than the million dollar speedboat of her original choice, that offered her a clue as to where the ship she pursued was heading. The only wind that existed within the fandom had one function – to deliver the ships of the storyline from one place to another.

The sails of the 'Willowe' were at full tilt. Hati supposed this was so the ficticious ships could make the 100 mile journey across treacherous seas in under six pages. The small boat rocked fiercely and the society founder was thankful that the author had never felt the need to write any sharks or man-eating piranhas into her works.

She had been travelling for almost an hour before the small merchant ship that was supposed to have delivered Ardelisa to the clutches of the evil pirates appeared. It seemed deserted, but seeing as the author had only written in two sailors, that wasn't unusual.

"Hello?" Hati called, not really expecting a response. From where she'd jumped into the story it seemed that Ardelisa's second abduction had already taken place. She ticked off the story events on her fingers.

Ardelisa living her slightly tragic lovelorn life in France.

Ardelisa kidnapped by mercenaries for her immense beauty.

Mercenaries attacked by pirates

Ardelisa dressed as boy so pirates won't take her.

Pirates turn out to be gay and take her back to...

"Turkey!" Hati snapped her fingers. "Gay Turkish Pirate seraglio in Turkey."

To be on the safe side, she boarded the deserted ship, just to be sure that there were no survivors hanging about. There weren't, the cabins were empty, with the signs of a struggle all around her. Since no one ever stopped to eat in Penelope Aubin books, there was a sad lack of food, and sadly, no fresh water to pilfer.

There was however, a richly drawn map upon the cabin wall. Because only three places were only ever actually mentioned in the novel, they were the only things on it. Scratching her head, Harriet wondered since when had there been nothing but sea between France and Turkey. Or since when there had been a small desert island between the two. However, this was the book world, and normal rules did not apply.

Hati folded the map hurriedly and shoved it into her pocket. She had anchored her sail boat, but did not trust the strong currents to have left it in tact.


Meanwhile, back in the Library.

Emily had plead her way into the medical wing, and was sat on the end of Tash's bed, reading the letter Hati had left. It seemed that the Society founder had finally found the missing piece of the puzzle.

"Ardelisa (or Lisa as she's been calling herself) belongs to, what was possibly the first Mary-Sue story ever written – a little known novella from the eighteenth century. Unfortunately her age probably made her extremely powerful, as well as extremely dangerous."

Hati had left a P.S saying that she had gone exploring in Ardelisa's home fandom – the Adventures of the Count de Vinevil and his Family, and was going to make absolutely sure. The final P.P.S was written in all capitals, and fiercely proclaimed...


"So?" said Emily. "What are we going to do?"

"Well obviously," Tash said. "You're going in after her."


The journey to Turkey was unexpectedly quick, possibly because no journey ever took more than six pages in the Count de Vinevil fandom. Upon reaching the shore, Hati secured her boat in the pitch darkness, and lit a match.

Turkey looked alarmingly like France, which in turn looked alarmingly like Jersey. From her brief researching session earlier in the evening, Hati knew that Penelope Aubin had lived in Jersey most of her life, and had almost certainly never been to Turkey. That much was evident from the fact that Turkey consisted solely of a seraglio, a dockyard, and a route by which Ardelisa would later make her escape. Clearly the author's descriptive skills hadn't been well used when composing these scenes.

Hati froze as she heard footsteps behind her. There shouldn't have been anyone in this scene but her.

"Hati?" a familiar voice came from the darkness.

"Emily!" cried Hati. "Boy am I glad to see you! – umm. I're grounded young lady!"

"I know," grinned Emily. "But Tash told me to come."

"And if Tash laid down in the middle of the M3, would you do that as well?"

"What's the M3?" asked Emily curiously.

"Never you mind what the M3 is... now, as long as you're here, you may as well make yourself useful."

"What do you want me to do?" Emily inquired.

"Well first of all," Harriet said. "I thought we'd find Violetta, and-"

"Find who?" interjected Emily.

Hati paused.

"Sit down, I'll tell you from the beginning."

Five minutes later they had a small campfire going and were roasting marshmallows companionably.

"Ardelisa comes from this book," Hati began. "Its called "The Count de Vinevil and his Family, and it was written in the eighteenth century by a woman named Penelope Aubin."

"So this Ardelisa," Emily broke in. "Is the same Lisa we've been chasing through multiple fandoms?"

"That's the one. She's a very innocent, quietly tragic, and lovelorn young girl, who lives with her widower father. One day she's kidnapped by mercenaries."


"I don't know, she just is. The author never really went into why. Might have had something to do with the fact that the lead mercenary found her unbelievably beautiful and wanted to take her to bed, but that's beside the point..."

"So then what happens?"

"The mercenaries are attacked by pirates," Harriet continued. "And the mercenaries dress Ardelisa as a boy to protect her virtue from them."

"Does that work?" asked Emily.

"No," said Hati. "They turn out to be gay Turkish pirates. So they kidnapped her regardless."

"Oh..." said Emily. That certainly explained Harriet's earlier rantings. "So are we looking for these pirates?"

"They're in there," Hati pointed to the seraglio on top of the hill. "Ardelisa should be there too."

"...the man that she's been looking for in all these fandoms..." Emily remembered suddenly. "Is that her father?"

Harriet thought hard for a moment. "Can't be. Her father is killed when the mercenaries attacked...more likely she's been looking for her husband, the Count de Longeville. She must believe that since she had enough power to break out of her book, that he must have too." She snorted. "No wonder she's been so desperate. She spends most of the book trying to get back to him – having to cross of fandoms to find the man she loves won't have deterred her."

"So..." said Emily slowly. "As Mary-Sue hunters, maybe she thinks we've done away with him."

"Hopefully she's not right," Harriet muttered. "Can you imagine what trouble we'd be in if we tried to rehabilitate a genuine book character?"

Emily nodded grimly. "But if we haven't, and we help her find him, maybe she'll go back to her fandom and leave us alone."

Harriet nodded. "But if we have done away with him, the repercussions could be dire."

The pair looked up at the light coming from the seraglio.

"Well there's only one way to find out for sure," said Hati. "And first I need to find Ardelisa..."


Morning found the Library nearly deserted, save for Tash, asleep with her head on a pile of books. Having decided there was nothing she could do about her shocking news from Valerie the night before, she had thrown all her energies into researching Ardelisa, in an effort to distract herself.

So far she seemed the perfect Sue. Beautiful, tragic, a damsel in distress, but with a surprising kind of stupid bravery. Not to mention an unswerving belief in Divine Providence – which when you got down to it, was basically god given good luck, which certainly explained some of the Sues abilities and actions in previous fandoms.

Most surprising of all, was the presence of a character who, if Tash did not know better, she would have believed to be taking the mick out of Ardelisa herself. Violetta, a character who's story appeared to run parallel, was the bad girl to Ardelisa's good girl. Having been kidnapped by the seraglio master, she had decided that she quite liked living in a luxury mansion full of good looking men, and had made no effort whatsoever to escape. The fact that her happy ending was happier than Ardelisa's made Tash smell a rat. What sort of Mary-Sue story was this, if the Sue's non-sueish companion came off better?

With a sigh, Tash went back to her studies. She hoped she would find the answer before Hati and Emily returned.


Having climbed the hill, Hati and Emily found themselves hiding under the window of Orsino's boudoir.

"This," whispered Hati. "Is where my very favourite scene takes place. Orsino takes Ardelisa, who is still dressed as a boy, up to his boudoir, and makes a long impassioned speech about how he/she is going to be his new lover. Then at the height of his passions, he rips open her shirt, and realises something is slightly amiss. Then he does a frantic u-turn and realises he's got to be somewhere else, leaving Ardelisa alone, in a room full of swords and fire."

"Clever man," responded Emily, before frowning. "How did you come to read something this filthy again?"

"My university class," Harriet explained. "We were studying what women read in the eighteenth century, which turned out to be mostly porn with a healthy side of trash."

"..." Emily looked at her with a disgusted expression.

"Anyway," Hati said, moving swiftly on, "if she's arrived and hasn't escaped yet, this is where she's most likely to be."

A sudden exclamation of "sweet boy or maid, I know not what thou art..." caught their ears and they ducked further down and out of sight. Ardelisa was close by, just about to have her true sex discovered by Orsino, thankfully rescuing her divine innocence and virginity from the ravages of an evil (but handsome and rugged) pirate. Sure enough, the rip of material floating through the still night air, heralded the shock of discovery.

"I... I... I've just remembered the most urgent... dental appointment... got to go."

At the sound of the door slamming, Hati jumped to her feet.

"Quick! She's alone in there. Now's our chance!"

The pair scrambled through the window, surrounding Ardelisa on either side.

"Hold it, right there!" Emily shrieked, pointing her supersoaker in the Sue's face. Ardelisa ignored her with a cool that sultry look that only Mary-Sues could pull off quite so perfectly. Turning to Hati, she lowered her voice to a menacing whisper.

"So, you finally figured it out did you? You finally realised that the novel from which you plucked my poor innocent husband was the one where you'd find me?"

"Ardelisa," Hati groaned, clapping a hand to her forehead. "Don't you know where your husband is?"

"I have a good idea," spat Ardelisa. "In your clutches! Probably tortured! Maybe even..." she trailed off for dramatic effect. "!"

"Actually..." Hati folded her arms. "He's in a monastery in France, wailing about how his one true love was kidnapped by mercenaries. In fact, the only reason you haven't been able to find him is because once you burst out of your fandom you never returned to tell him you were alive, you silly girl!"

"...oh," Ardelisa looked slightly embarrassed. " didn't want to re-educate me?"

"Unfortunately," Hati replied. "Since you're a canonical character, we can't do a thing... not unless we wanted your publishing house coming down on us like a tonne of bricks."

"Oh..." repeated Ardelisa. "I suppose then... I've been rather silly..."

"That's to be expected," replied Hati. "You are only a Mary-Sue after all."

"Yes... terribly sorry," Ardelisa managed. "If you wouldn't mind taking me to my husband now...?"

"That's no problem," smiled Hati. "But since you did cause us an awful lot of trouble..."

"Oh, how can I ever compensate you?" declared Ardelisa. "I have nothing. I am penniless and derelict in this cold and cruel world...unless you count the millions I just inherited from my deceased father..."

A meaningful look from Hati made her pause.

"Oh, you want my millions! Oh well, go ahead. I was just planning on running off to some small corner of France with my husband and living happily ever after anyway."



No one was more surprised than Tash, when Hati and Emily reappeared through a plothole, baring four giant briefcases full of money.

"Where on earth..." she asked. "Did you get that?"

"Easy peasy," replied Hati. "We put the storyline back together. Ardelisa's back to her harmless and vacuous little ways, and she won't be bothering us any more."

"Oh..." said Tash. "Good... and the money?"

"Well. Emily's been such a good girl recently, I thought I'd give her a five hundred year advance on her pocket money," said Hati.

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