“Lemma the Librarian – Of Potions and Pimples”


Published: September 23, 2007 & April 13, 2008


Another fairly straightforward one, although that’s kinda underselling it a bit. The entire first third or so of this has no mc and no sex, and is instead a big block of character business (and humour). Lemma is condescending to the locals, lusts after and is possessive of Iason but still won’t admit it even to herself*, fireballs the shit out of an inn, and successfully manages to deflect an angry mob. We also see that while Lemma is fairly quick-witted (and hyper-violent) in person, she gets defensive quite often in the narration and the contrast can be quite funny**.

From here, things get more mc-y. Lemma’s fantasies, first about Iason and then about Brinksmoor, are starting to shift from “well, he’s hot” to “well, he’s hot and I want to be controlled by him”. Unfortunately for her the mind controller here is a very, very dumb teenager, and only some very powerful horniness magic gets Lemma to a place where she can bang him. Steve*** is probably the most unfortunate controller in the whole sequence of stories – even the other accidental ones usually start getting all “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, but he’s kinda actually trying to be responsible about his new powers. Still dumb as a post, of course, so it doesn’t work, but it’s more comedic than dark, unlike many of the other stories (which tend towards separate comedic and sexy/dark sections). It even manages to stay funny through the reveal that Lemma “cured” him by setting him on fire! (Off camera.) What can I say, other than to quote Lemma: “I like fire.”

I do hope things work out for him and Tskanka, though. 🙂

*“If I wanted him I’d’ve had him already” – proud Lemma and horny Lemma fight! XD

**There’s no real frame story for this – it’s just a story told in first-person. But there’s also no unreliable narrator business, Narrator-Lemma has to be honest to make the narrative work, and by virtue of that gets a lot more jokes of the “It is remotely possible that I may, purely accidentally, have very slightly…” variety.

***A name which isn’t even remotely period, but it’s introduced in what is unambiguously a joke, so it falls under the pastiche exemption mentioned below.

When The Fuck Are We? 🤷

This is kinda a historian problem, but: it didn’t even occur to me until I started writing this that the setting might be mysterious to anyone. “Distant and primitive ‘Tin Islands’ – so, obviously Britain, right?” It’s a legitimate Greek – or here, Sea People – term for the British Isles, since Cornwall and Devon have pretty large, ancient-tech-exploitable tin deposits, which were indeed exploited and traded south to the Mediterranean world. The most prosperous part of Britain before the Romans arrived was Cornwall, because of exactly this trade, and the Cornish name for Cornwall is Kernow, close enough to Lemma’s Kyrno as to be not worth quibbling over.

So, ancient Britain, then? First story in Cornwall, second story in points somewhat east? Well, sure. But the timeline starts to sputter real bad right about here. The Classical Greeks did have a (small, long-distance) trade with Britain. The Dorians… did not. Bronze Age sea trade pretty much had its western limits at peninsular Greece and the western edge of the Nile delta. Cross-Mediterranean trade was only established by the Phoenicians in the 9th C BCE and the Greeks picked it up and extended it in the centuries to follow. The most famous Greek voyager to Britain, Pytheas of Massilia, travelled there around 300 BCE-ish: nine hundred years after our supposed date.

There was, however, a clue last story that we’re not meant to take the exact historical context too seriously*. Lemma gets a French maid outfit, and it is described as such in those words for a joke (“to this day, I have no idea what a ‘French’ is; I can only assume it’s barbarian for ‘uncomfortable and impossible to do any work in’” XD). The story is, after all, a pastiche, and everything is up for grabs for a joke or a fun setting to play around in or both**. So the fact that there’s Atlantic trade long before there should be is just a thing, rather than a mistake. 

(Also, our current location is Breizh, described as being sort of Home-Counties-area, but the name is Breton for Brittany, which is, of course, in France. It has close cultural ties with Cornwall, being settled and having its cultural core from Cornish immigrants/refugees, but is still not, you know, situated in Kent. Of course, next to “French maids have always existed, right?” that’s a small thing.)

*Hooo boy, is it too late for me on that front. ;P

**My first time through I did not get this at all. The “French” joke, rather than giving it away, just totally threw me. My theory, ultimately, was that the setting was post-apocalyptic, and I didn’t figure it out until @midorikonton​ tips her hand completely in “Tricks of the Trade”.


Next time: the longest, most interesting induction, magic books, and I get a history breather to talk about two of the three Rs.

You have no idea how long I have been waiting for someone to publicly notice/point out that the Tin Islands are Britain.

“Tricks of the Trade” was a weird one, heh. Interested to see what you make of it when you get there.