1. krtr
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    krtr Member

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    He Needs a SYMBOL

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by krtr, Feb 10, 2012.

    I've got these cults. No, not the kool-aid kind. Cults of Insert God Here, Greek style. Anyway, a particular cult needs a symbol for their god and I'm kind of... stuck.

    The god is Arnos, a deity of battle (not war, only battle) and of literature (mostly epics.. dealing with battle.) The god was known for being tricky, deceitful, and for sowing trouble among men. He was brutal and merciless but also petty, childish. In the mythology of the world he is shown as being the father of death.

    And he needs a symbol. I was thinking something along the lines of a stylized swan pierced with an arrow of flame, but I'm really unsure. Ideas? It's important because the symbol is imprinted on everything.
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know, I'm not really "feeling" the swan. In my mind, the cult you described is quite ancient, so a highly stylised figure such as a swan just doesn't fit.
    I would imagine a symbol derived from things like alchemist talismans, cabala, runes, Egyptian hieroglyphs or even zodiac symbols. There are many websites around that list many of these.
     
  3. krtr
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    krtr Member

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    I wanted it to be something simple and relatable, which kind of ruled out hieroglyphs. Perhaps I was too vague, but this symbol is only 80, maybe 100 years old. The cult is much older, but there's a shift every so often and the current embodiment of the god is only 60 years old. His grand father was the embodiment before him.

    The swan was chosen after reading the Lohengrin story. I consider swans peaceful and fire and arrows destructive. It was a jab at Arnos' tendency to destroy peace. But I can totally see where it just doesn't have the right feel... that's why I posted ;)
     
  4. Chad J Sanderson
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    Chad J Sanderson Member

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    The swan is an interesting choice, because the legend says that it sings its most beautiful song right before it dies. Being in mid-death could symbolize the beauty and horror of battle.

    I recommend you try out other symbols to see what fits best. Check out a few bestiaries online and find a strong relation between your symbol and the motives of the cult. Apes, Monkeys, and Foxes are all possible substitutes for the swan, although it may make more sense for them to be holding the arrows rather than getting impaled. Good luck!
     
  5. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    The symbol of my cult is simply two diagonal lines connected at the top - ascension. It could be a dagger, or a shield, or be symbolised by its colour like with the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim, the symbol could reflect the nature of the god in question and their general actions.
     
  6. krtr
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    krtr Member

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    That's really interesting about the swan. I hadn't heard that before.

    I'm really liking the idea of a fox or monkey swapped for the swan. The fox fits well with Arnos' tendency to trick, and I can see it carrying the arrow in its mouth, one paw raised. The monkey reminds me of the Tool song Right in Two which deals with humanity's mindless fighting. Very interesting.
     
  7. twelveninetysix
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    twelveninetysix Member

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    From the sounds of thinks, the monkey seems a bit too... exotic for the cult. It seems too exotic for a god preoccupied with battle, which most people imagine as a muddy, wet, unpleasant affair. The fox could work. To be honest, I liked the swan. Sorry for opening a whole can o' worms there, but I did. Especially if it was an angry swan. Man, those things are freaking terrifying.
     
  8. krtr
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    krtr Member

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    I agree about angry swans/waterfowl. I was attacked by a duck as a child... I still hate all birds.
     
  9. Chad J Sanderson
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    Chad J Sanderson Member

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    Monkeys were a common theme for trickery and deceit in Ancient Greece, especially in the stories of the Cercopes and Hercules. In medieval literature they are representatives of Satan, typically very blood thirsty, and also highly cunning. Throughout history primates have usually been depicted as intelligent but ugly creatures, like a twisted version of man. And if battle is a muddy, wet, unpleasant affair, I don't think a swan is the best representative either, although they certainly can be terrifying.
     
  10. twelveninetysix
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    twelveninetysix Member

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    However, the impression of the god I got was that although he is cruel, he prefers setting big ugly brawls (he is the god of battle, after all). Although he's cunning, the monkey's attributes seem to fit more with a sneaky, spiteful, trickster type god, rather than a merciless god of battle. The last sentence about swans being terrifying - I was kind of joking. I appreciate they can be really vicious but I liked the swan because it also shows the perceived "noble" aspect of battle.
     
  11. Chad J Sanderson
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    Chad J Sanderson Member

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    Ah, I didn't really see anything about nobleness in the original post. I assumed that because it was a deceitful God its battle tactics wouldn't be "clean." It's all interpretation I suppose. And geese scared me when I was younger. I was attacked more than once by an insane mama goose.
     
  12. twelveninetysix
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    twelveninetysix Member

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    Yeah, on re-reading it doesn't actually say anything about nobleness. I guess I just got it from the whole battle-deity thing.

    I've never been actually attacked by a goose, but in my early childhood I was once chased for around 10 minutes by an overly aggressive turkey.
     
  13. krtr
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    krtr Member

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    You're both quite right. Arnos wasn't necessarily a clean fighter, and he did like to start big brawls. But he was a god, and he was noble. But the symbol is not only for Arnos, but for the cult, and for the embodiments of the god. It has to be broader than just Arnos. It has to represent bigger ideas.

    I'm still liking the monkey and fox, but now I'm not too sure that the swan was the wrong choice to begin with.

    I wish I could post bit of the work for people to judge by, but I haven't been a member long enough. :/
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    However, your god's characteristics are already a big mish mash of various Greek gods, and Zeus was sometimes represented as a swan, there is a myth about that, so you probably want to be careful not to sound too derivative.
     
  15. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    A hydra, the many headed beast of war - slay one head, 2 more grow in its place :)
     
  16. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    A fox. Sounds fine.

    Really, I don't think it matters as much as you think it does. The reader wouldn't dwell on it. And, how many times do you have to describe it? Maybe once as it's first introduced, and then subsequently you'd only mention it, as in, "the cult's symbol was engraved in the stone by the graves," or something.

    What I'm getting at is, don't let little details like this distract you from what's important -- writing the story.
     

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