Darling it’s better… a tale for MerMay

Things Unspoken, South Coast

There were not people in all the seas.

Some of them were too dark, too cold, too inhabited by things that either had been driven off the land or had simply claimed the water for their own.

Some were too close to human people, some were too heavily sailed, some were simply not very nice to swim in.

But there was this place off the southern coast of the Empire where wise captains did not send their ships.  And there was this place deep in this cove where people lived.

Elliallein and Milleffeou conferred in the shadows.  Mille had the sort of magic that allowed her to take on legs, and the sort of voice that sometimes convinced people to listen.  And so she would wander to the ports and tell people how unwise it was to portage all the way around rather than just sailing through the cove, or she would tell people how good of fishing there was deep in the cove.

Elliallein was too far from the humans to do that.  Her magic was a different sort – the sort that came later.  She draped a necklace over her cousin’s neck and hummed a little song.  There would be boats along soon.  There always were.

And when there were, the sea here would do what it always did, and very few boats would make it out alive.

But Elliallein and her sisters and cousins, they would save who they could.  Some they would drag to shore, of course.  But the best ones, the strongest swimmers….

Elliallein’s magic would teach them how to swim properly.  And her children and theirs might be able to walk on land.


Written to Eseme’s prompt: I quite like this one, because very colorful mermaid! Which likely indicates poison or something. I expect the tail has bright angel-fish fins. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/64528207131870453

Want more?

World Building June Day 8/18 – Running and Running Around

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  After I exhaust the answers I’ve written, I might just default to Inspector Caracal’s questions.

Well, I’m still posting.  Sometimes.

8. How is your world run? Who’s in power?

The Bear Empire is, as it sounds, an Empire. It is not the largest Empire.  It’s not even the largest Empire I’ve written.

It is ruled by a Emperor or Empress, a role which is chosen from a small pool of available candidates – these include governors of areas or of subject matter (the governor of trade, of foreign relations with Dekleg, with Halor, etc), the children, spouses, and family of the last emperor, especially those who have been given a position of authority or responsibility along with their title-of-relation, and generally three people picked from the population as potential candidates, usually by those listed earlier in the list.  

The pool is chosen by the pool in a voting process which can last months.  In one situation, the pool is known to have lasted five years, during which a woman not part of the pool (the down-spouse of the former Empress’ equals-spouse) ruled the country.  A governor from the Lynx territory is credited with finally nominating her into the pool, at which point she became the first laundress to become Empress (as known, at least) and the first unanimous vote of the Imperial Conclave.

Ruling the empire is a group affair.  The Emperor has a privy council, a voting council, and a speaking council.


Cal Questions

GOVERNMENT/ECONOMY

18- What kind of transportation and communication do people have access to? What is its range and speed?

The Bear Empire is still primarily on foot- and horse-based travel.  While riding on horseback is common during the summer month, during the winter time, carriages, stagecoaches, and other such enclosed conveyances are more common.

The Empire has two competing empire-wide stagecoach companies which will take you just about anywhere in the Empire; in addition, there are several smaller companies that focus on a single area.  There are also two lines that only handle border crossings, taking either the one bridge or the most-established ferry across the wide river between Dekleg and the Empire.

When your feet/hooves are tired, river and coastal boats are common for both freight and passengers, with boats travelling the three long lakes (“the Scars”), the major and minor rivers within the nation, and the coast from the glacial wall to the northern edge of Dekleg.

The Lynx Mountains also have a series of carts, something akin to a ski lift, which lift people up a large mountain and then back down into the middle of the mountains, generally on rails and run by steam and magic.


 

Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!

Beauty-beast 38: The Right Way

First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Doll

🔒

“Ctirad.  Ctirad, my darling.”  A click; the screen went blank.  Another moment; there was a hand over his eyes, another hand on the back of his neck.  “Ctirad. Hear me.”

He swallowed.  He could breathe.  “I. I hear you, sir.  I hear you. Master.”

“No, my darling.  Not that. Your sir, I will take that.  But Master is a title I haven’t earned, not from you.”

That was strange enough to shake a bit of the fog away.  “Sir?”

“Ah, well.”  Timaios’ tone was… rueful?  “I did say I’d accept that. Ctirad.  I’m going to move my hands. Can you tell me what happened?” Continue reading

Prey in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Arrows in the Bear Empire

🐻

Deline counted down on her fingers.  Three, two-

“Oy, you in the old Pattane house!  Come out with your hands up. I know you’re trespassing there, and I’ve every right to shoot you, but if you move slowly and ain’t try nothing, I shan’t but warn you on.”

“That….” Deline whispered quietly, “is not a Deklegion bounty hunter, or if she is, she is very good at mid-Fox-lands dialect.”

“Ain’t try nothing?” Carrone muttered.  “Want to shoot him anyway?”

Deline stood up, to a chorus of swearing from Carrone.  “No harm meant,” she called. “The storm lit on us something fierce,” oh, it had been a long time since she’d tried this dialect.  “an’ nothing but our little tent to keep us from the cold. We ‘bout to take ourselves on to somewhere else, we were, when your arrow said hello.” Continue reading

The Haunted House 16: Serving

First: A story featuring a male keeper and a female Kept.
Previous: Assignments and Plans

🌳🏚🌳

“Ah, Mélanie.”  It was as if Jasper had read her mind.  “It will all make sense to you eventually, I hope. Either that or you will start throwing dishes at me and demanding that you go somewhere else, which is also a possibility.”  He shifted like he was going to stand up and then sat back down. “Please, at your leisure, finish your meal.”

She looked at her food and, slowly, began eating.  It did taste good, certainly better than anything she’d been eating before she came here.  Of course, she’d made it, but she’d made it with fresh ingredients and the help of a cooperative kitchen.  Very fresh ingredients… “Do you steal food as well?”

Now, why had she asked that?

“Well, I have chickens, and I might have had to go out and steal some, but they came with the house, so I didn’t have to.   The rest, generally, I trade stolen goods for. I try to be more like Robin Hood and less like some evil taxman; for one thing, if I steal from the poor, the house gets very cranky with me.  For another, I get really cranky with myself.” Continue reading

Spoils of War 8: Mountains and Rats

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: Hostile

Aran was staring at her.  Nikol wished she had a real answer for him, but she didn’t think he’d like knowing that she’d spared his life on a whim.  

She shrugged instead and took a big bite of her own food.  “Yeah. I’d had enough. Me, alone, I’m not enough to take them down, but I might not have been the only one to run, either…. what?”

He was staring at her.  “You want to… take down… the Mountain?”

“Don’t you?”  She took another big bit of her food.  “Not like, today or anything. But yes.  I would like to destroy the Mountain eventually.”

“Is that why you-”  His gesture was unclear, but she had a pretty good idea what he was talking about.

“No.”  She shook her head and finished her bite of food.  “No. I took you because it was that or kill you, and I was sick of killing.” Continue reading

The Portal Closed 5: The Refugee

It didn’t end up being Millie Dioli that they went to meet with first.

Actually, it didn’t end up being them going to meet with someone at all, the first time.

A senior, a kid they didn’t recognize at all, came up to them after fencing club.  He was awkward and lanky, someone who looked like, Diane thought, he might grow into his body and his face in a few years.

He hadn’t taken part in the club, but he’d watched with a hungry look on his face.  

Now he was aiming the same hungry look at Diane and Barbara.

“You’re… You’re Diane, right?  And, uh, Barbara.” Continue reading