Will it ever have actual members? Okay, that's a whole other question. Still, we've some of us been having fun!
Let's go back a couple of weeks. I was trying to find out whether the Knights de Soir and the Twilight Knighties were two names for the same thing. Ramona J. suggested that a good symbol for an icon for people who wanted a balance between the two sides of Nick's personality would be be the raven knife from "Blackwing". However, I pointed out that I wasn't looking for motifs for a "Twilight/de Soir" icon. I had, in fact, already made it. I just wanted to know whether I needed to make two separate icons (if the faction names were truly distinct) or simply provide variants with alternative titles on them (the way I've done with the Vaquero/as).
Then I added that I did think the raven knife would be a great motif on an icon for Marian Blackwing. Or would have been...if she'd ever had a faction. A bit tongue in cheek, I finished, "Now what would Marian's affiliation be called? I'm quite prepared to make icons for factions that *ought* to exist!"
A couple of people promptly went to work hunting to see if anyone had ever suggested a name for it, while others made their own suggestions. I'd sort of figured that "the Shamans" might be reasonable, Ramona offered "Blackwing", waltd suggested "the Marianettes", and 1_mad_squirrel liked "the Wing Nuts".
Well, this was interesting.
Actually, of the various ideas, my fancy was immediately taken by Walt's "Marianettes". After all, on her grandfather's death, Marian Blackwing is imbued with powers that she doesn't understand, with no preparation or education in how to use them. She is overwhelmed by her impulse to help Nick; and, as a result, when she tries to take away his evil, she doesn't take the time to learn how to do it safely. Whereas her grandfather controlled the power, it controls her.
Ideas immediately popped into my head for the icon: the imagery is very strong. So strong, in fact, that I found it quite irresistible. I really wanted to see if I could get the icon to work out. So I came up with this:
Marian is depicted looking up at a marionette. It symbolizes her relationship with her shaman powers by mirroring the gestures of the stylized figure in the background. (This comes from the picture behind which Gary Blackwing hid the document proving the Mississauga Indians' land claim.) To achieve this effect, I found a suitable marionette image, and then removed and rotated its lower arms. Then, so that the nature of the figure would be clear, I drew in some lines representing the strings controlling the marionette. Finally, I tucked the pair of raven knives in at the bottom.
It seemed to me that this icon said a lot about Marian. Nevertheless, I felt qualms. People had suggested other ideas for the faction name. Surely, it wasn't up to me to decide! Factions are a fan thing; and no one person has more claim than any other. Did other people like "Marianettes" as much as I did?
So I suggested a vote. In fact, of the four candidates, two clearly proved most popular—Marianettes and Blackwing—and, for a while, they seemed to be running neck and neck. However, it looks as though, in the end, Blackwing has edged out Marianettes by five to four. (Okay, not the most overwhelming poll of all time, I agree. Still, it amused some people a bit for a while.)
This, of course, means that I've just made a second icon, this one for the Blackwing. (Members of the faction seem to be called "Blackwings".)
Although I had originally thought that the raven knife would dominate the design, in the end it proved very difficult to work with. One knife on its own is simply an odd shape: the pair in their case is far more recognizable. However, it is a very large squarish shape on the page. I found that, if I put the picture of Marian on one side, it more or less obscured one of the knives; and, if I put it dead centre, she simply seemed to have two odd shapes sticking out of her head!
Then I started to discuss the iconography on FORKNI-L. I pointed out that I couldn't use a raven in the icon because ravens are the symbol of Janette's faction. It was waltd who suggested that maybe all that was needed was one black feather. Indeed, if you think about the old black & white faction symbols, one black feather would indeed have graced a pin very nicely:
As for the background to the icon: it occurred to me that I might some way work in the story that LaCroix tells during his Nightcrawler broadcast. You know the one:
It's Indian legend time. A Native American faery story for children of all ages. Legend has it that when the world was young and unfinished, the Great Spirit father made the mistake of leaving his paints where his children could get them. Raven begged Eagle to paint him as beautiful and grand as the Great Spirit had made Eagle himself. And so he did. Or so he tried. But when Raven looked at his reflection in the water, he didn't like what he saw. Raven became angry. He and Eagle fought, and the Great Spirit father's paints were spilled over Raven, and made him all black. Black wings. Black eyes. Black breast. Raven ran into the river, and flapped his wings against the current, but the color was indelible. The water wouldn't wash it away. This is your punishment, said the Great Father, for interfering with my work. Black you are, and black you will stay. You will never come clean. Not much of a legend at that, is it, children? But I rather like the moral.This implies that Raven originally had brightly coloured feathers. The ones in the picture actually came from some sort of parrot, I believe. We can imagine though that, before he indelibly inked himself, Raven was similarly gaudy.
And I did find a place to tuck in a little pair of raven knives, too.
In honour of the new faction, I posted a ficlet to FKFIC-L. For those who don't subscribe to that list, it is also available on my website.