In Aelyria, the action has finally begun. After a nice little monologue from the gruff dog-man, Patrick finds out that he’s been thinking bad, possibly mildly racist things, about a guy who used to be a thug, and now tries to help people. Patrick loves a redemption arc, so for the first time he begins to feel comfortable. I really do love a redemption arc, by the way. It’s one of the few tropes that basically always appeals to me. I have no idea why – I’ve never been a particularly bad guy, and I’m far too law-abiding to ever get really tempted by the dark side, but I suppose that’s what makes it exotic. It’s interesting to think of the circumstances that could turn you evil, and then good again. Not that I’m particularly good. For me it would be evil and then kinda OK again.

After Patrick relaxes, that is of course when the bad stuff happens. Suddenly Ruffus is barking orders at us (and for the first time, barking orders is actually a literal description) and there’s some kind of … stampede heading our way. But Ruffus is telling us to run, while holding his weapon, so I don’t think it’s animals. It might be orcs or boar things or something. Anyway, it’s exciting. At the moment I’m just running – I think I’d definitely run from a stampede thing in real life. That’s probably instinct.

Our pet behaviouralist has been educating us about our dogs anxiety disorders, and has been talking about they are triggered into fight or flight from weird shit. It’s a difficult thing to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it, and a difficult thing to write about in general. We tend to identify our selves via our working brain, as a kind of cohesive psyche – but it’s a bit of a myth. There’s all sorts of triggers and modes in our brain that kind of bypass our full personalities and go deeper and more primal. When we’re in fight or flight, it’s literally those two things. It’s impossible to think about complex morality or pacifism or fear of the law. I wonder if this sort of thing is ever covered in criminal cases, especially in terms of self defence. If I woke up and someone was threatening me with a knife, I know from prior experiences that there’s an equal chance that I’d bludgeon him with the deer antler on my dressing table as run away. I hope I wouldn’t be penalised for that – it’s not a choice I’d consciously make.

This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016.

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