Writing Every Day in March: Day 13

“Ego sum vaccinium tuum.”

Now, for context, the phrase “I’m your huckleberry” is defined as:

(dated, informal, US) I am your partner; I will join you; I will work with you; I will fight you; I will dance with you.

  • 1879 April 16, Joseph Cook, “Ultimate America”, in Puck‎[1], page 84:The other day, while enjoying a social game of seven-up with that pure and gentle poet, Jim Lowell, I said, “Jim, let’s take a drink.” Tears bedimmed his gentle and pure orbs, as in faltering accents he replied: “I’m your huckleberry.”
  • 1907, Edwin Lefevre, Sampson Rock of Wall Street: A Novel‎[2], page 177:See here, if you want me to go into this or any other deal with you, I’m with you to the limit. If you don’t, and you just wish me to go along as your private secretary and professor of wisdom-toothing, I’m your huckleberry, and I’ll pay my own board-bills besides.
  • 1927, Walter Nobel Burns, Tombstone: An Illiad of the Southwest‎[3], page 138:Holliday took a quick step toward him. “I’m your huckleberry, Ringo,” replied the cheerful doctor. “That’s just my game.”
from the Wiktionary Entry

The phrase is probably best-known in Pop Culture (at least post, say, post the 1940s) thanks to the movie Tombstone (about the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral), where it’s basically Doc Holliday‘s catchphrase — usually in the context of “Yeah, okay. I’ll have a showdown at high noon with you. It’s your funeral“.

And, of course, since Falcata is an Elf, she speaks Latin, so she’s obliging today’s opponent by saying “I’m your huckleberry” in Elvish/Latin. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a Latin word for “huckleberry” itself — perhaps unsurprising, given that huckleberries are endemic to the Americas — so I used “vaccinium”, which is the name of the genus of huckleberries and related plants.

As they head along the road back to Porthaven after another successful adventure, the Lyte Brigade find themselves gazing into a very strange mirror. Staring back the Lyte Brigade is a rival group of six adventurers — uncannily similar to the members of the Lyte Brigade, and yet undeniably different in strange ways that just make the similarities all the more acutely uncanny.

“They are Evil Us?” Pela asks, staring at the group of six adventurers staring down the Lyte Brigade.

“Anyone who wears that much black leather has to be evil,” Matilda notes.

“I’m Nathaniel Reagan,” their leader declares.

Matilda rolls her eyes. “Oh,” she groans. “I’m never going to remember that. You’ll just be Evil Nolan.”

“And this,” Evil Nolan continues, pointing to the young woman standing beside him. “Is my little sister Madeline.”

“And that would be me Evil Me,” Matilda mutters. “The good news is that I’m much prettier than she is.”

“Oh, you are not, Old Lady!” Evil Matilda counters, sticking her tongue out at her counterpart. “I can hear your hair greying for here!”

“Old Lady?” Matilda repeats hotly. “Can I explode her now, Nolan?”

“And this,” Evil Nolan continues, pointing to the dapper young man on his other side. “Is Sir Oswald de Marburton-Burtonburton.”

“I know him!” Tancred says. “His aunt is Mother’s favourite art historian!”

“The pleasure is all yours,” the knight mutters with a dismissive wave of his hand.

Evil Nolan points to the pale, dark-haired Elf in his group. She’s wearing a ruby necklace. “This is Invidia Imagina.”

“Let me guess,” Matilda says. “She’s your girlfriend, right?”

Evil Nolan nervously clears his throat but says nothing.

Evil Amara, on the other hand, haughtily flips her hair. “He is not my boyfriend!” she insists.

“Oh please,” Amara scoffs — utterly aware of the irony, “don’t lie to yourself!”

Evil Nolan regains his composure and continues introducing his companions. He points to the Dwarf woman standing at the front of his group. “This is Gertrude Bergarbeiter.”

“So, uh,” Pela asks the Dwarf woman, “how tall are you?”

“Taller than you,” she counters.

“Oh, you are not!” Pela counter-counters.

“And, finally,” Evil Nolan concludes, pointing over his shoulder to the large, grizzled fearsome-looking man looming over his shoulder. “Is my uncle, Axe the Blade.”

“Well,” Matilda muses. “Evil Falcata is definitely the ugliest of you lot.” She glances up to her Amazon companion. “No offence, Falcata.”

“None taken,” Falcata answers. “I think?”

“We’re the Reagan Six,” Evil Nolan concludes. “We’re the hottest new adventuring guild in Porthaven!”

“But we’re the hottest new adventuring guild in Porthaven!” Pela protests.

“And,” Evil Nolan continues, “we’ve been hired to steal the Tome of Sorphronius!”

“But we’ve been hired to recover the Tome of Sorphronius!” Pela protests.

“Well,” Axe the Blade says from the back of the group. “I guess that means we’ll have to fight about it.”

“Reagan Six, move out!” Evil Nolan calls.

Nolan gasps. “He stole my thing!”

“I want the big one,” Axe the Blade says, pointing at Falcata. “She big actually be a challenge.”

Falcata obliges, stepping forward and drawing her sword.

“Ego sum vaccinium tuum,” she says.

So, basically, what I’m doing here is the time-honoured story beat of “Heroes Have Oddly-Similar Team of Evil Counterparts.”

Now, this one probably is worth revisiting as a full story at some point.

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