Writing Every Day in March: Day 30

Allow the Four Horsemen of Castle Ansangaar to dance for you the dance of their people.

I didn’t set out to deliberately make the antagonists of Realmgard progressively more and more bombastically silly, it just sort of happened.

But I’ve decided to really lean into it.

So, basically, these guys are Realmgard‘s Ginyu Force.

FYI: In keeping with Toriyama‘s propensity for naming groups of characters along common themes, the Ginyu Force are all named for dairy products — whereas the Saiyans (Super or otherwise) are vegetables, Frieza‘s family are types of refrigeration, and Bulma‘s family are, ahem, clothing; the family name, after all, is (kinda-sorta) Brief.

Incidentally, “Ginyu Force” is probably the most cromulent possible translation into English, at least in terms of simplicity/brevity, but doesn’t convey the full nuance of “Ginyu Tokusentai”, which means “Special Squad”, but I don’t think there’s a better way to actually say that in English. “Tokusentai” sounds awesome, “Special Squad” kinda doesn’t.

That seems to be a recurring trend of Japanese names of elite groups. Shisengumi sounds better “Newly-Selected Corps”, “Sailor Senshi” sounds better than “Sailor Guardian” — though translating it as “Sailor Scout was one of the few unambiguously good decisions in the original English dub; also Sailor Moon’s best friend’s Brooklyn accent.

A screenshot of Sailor Moon and her best friend.
She reserves the right to call you a “chowderhead” if you disagree.
Sailor Moon: Toei Animation and Viz Media.

Kat isn’t usually one to dally around ancient evil castles, but given Tenebella’s habit to express her displeasure by calling down “ten thousand maledictions”, when she’d invited Kat to Castle Ansangaar, Kat didn’t have the heart, the courage, or the desire to be the target of ten thousand maledictions, to refuse.

She isn’t entirely clear on what a malediction even is, but ten thousand of them sounds like a lot.

So, here she is, touring an ancient evil castle at pretty much the farthest point of Realmgard from the familiar climes of Porthaven, as Tenebella eagerly shows off collection of “relics of long-dead races and antediluvian kingdoms that were drunk by the sea in bygone days” and rampaging hordes, well also doing her utmost to avoid showing off her mother — no small feat considering her mother’s tendency to walk into the room with orange juice and marshmallow squares.

“Mom!” Tenebella cries. “I am trying to bestow the blessings of the uncanny gods of the Sublunar Realm on Kat! You can’t just walk into my room like that!”

“Would you like a marshmallow square dear?” Tenebella’s mother asks Kat.

“Yes,” Kat answers.

“…I would also like a marshmallow square,” Tenebella murmurs.

Munching on a marshmallow square, Kat follows Tenebella into the castle’s courtyard.

“This,” Tenebella says, “is the pride of the Ansangaarian hordes — the Four Horsemen of Castle Ansangaar.”

“But there’s five of them,” Kat notes.

“Gwaedbran objects to being counted as a Horseman,” Tenebella explains.

“On the grounds that I am a woman,” the lone woman among the Horsemen notes.

“On the grounds that she is a woman,” Tenebella agrees.

“Makes sense,” Kat concedes.

“Allow me to introduce the Horsemen,” Tenebella says, pointing to each of them in turn. “They are led by Captain Ratsumies. I’ve already spoken of Gwaedbran. Next to her is Secutor. Then Dimachaerus. And, finally, we have Ralph.”

“Horsemen!” the leader of the group — a very large man in a horned helmet — calls.

“Hey-ho!” the others answer.

“Adopt the Pose of Attention!” the leader declares.

“Hey-ho!” the others answer, snapping upright to rigid attention.

“This,” Tenebella tells her five minions, “is Kat. Henceforth, she is my foremost lieutenant. You shall show her the same deference you would show me.”

“Horsemen!” the leader calls again.

“Hey-ho!” the others answer.

“Adopt the Pose of Inquiry!”

“Hey-ho!” the others answer, raising their hands and waiting for Tenebella to acknowledge them.

“Yes, Captain?” Tenebella asks.

“Shall we perform for the new lieutenant the Dance of Salutation?” he asks.

“That will not be necessary,” Tenebella says, a faint blush creeping into her pallid cheeks.

“Respectfully, my lady,” Captain Ratsumies says. “I feel compelled to adopt the Pose of Contrarianism and disagree. The Dance of Salutation is always necessary.”

The other Horsemen all speak in agreement.

“Shall I interpret my lady’s silence as assent?” Captain Ratsumies.

“Ugh,” Tenebella groans.

“Horsemen!” Captain Ratsumies calls.

Hey-ho!” the others answer.

“Dance!” Captain Ratsumies bellows. “Of! Salutation!

“Hey-ho!” the others answer, breaking into dance involving much waggling, flailing of limbs, and stomping.

“Are, uh,” Kat stammers, watching the bizarre and oddly-hypnotic spectacle unfolding before her, “are they always like this?”

“…Yes,” Tenebella mutters. “Gods of the Sublunar Realm, this could not be more embarrassing.”

“Tenebella, honey,” her mother calls, entering the courtyard. “I made another batch of marshmallow squares!”

Allow the Four Horsemen of Castle Ansangaar to dance for you the dance of their people.

Basically, picture something like this:

The Simpsons: 20th Television Animation and Gracie Films.

I’m not sold on “Four Horsemen” and I’d definitely change it to Four …. Somethings Else if I ever turn this into a full story, but for the purposes of banging out 500 words on a topic, it works fine and the reference is probably obvious to any native English speaker.

It’s also a Wrestling reference, but for the first time in the history of Realmgard, the Wrestling reference isn’t deliberate…

Incidentally — and speaking of things that sound better in Japanese — I was trying to invoke something like “Shitenno“, a common idiom in Japan for any group of four impressive people ultimately derived from the four Buddhist protector-gods but I didn’t want an overwrought reference.

Also, I’m sorry for inflicting the name “Gwaedbran” upon you, but it means “Blood-Raven” (technically, “crow”…). Or, at least, it’s supposed to. I don’t know Welsh well enough to know if the noun-adjective order matters semantically.

But, like, it’s a great name for a villain (or at least stern but fair anti-hero)’s elite minion.

Incidentally, if any of my readers know Welsh, hit me up, please…

Though, honestly, I probably should pull a Toriyama and have a theme to their names.

Hey, look at that! One day left of writing in March!

Plus, a new chapter tomorrow!

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