Archive | September 2011

Rin & Girey…. adrift

Guys, I don’t know what to write next in Rin/Girey. I know that there should be more story on their trip, but I’m just not sure WHAT.


This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Sunday night with worries

New flash series! I’m going to write one flash for every Icon I have, over 4 LJ accounts, 1 DW, and a whole bunch of not-currently-in-use, until I get bored or run out of icons.

Today’s icon:

Addergoole, Aelgifu.

Icon & Art by Djinni

Directly after Sunday Night, Content (LJ)

“…As long as you make babies.”

Ayla chewed her lip and stared at her brother. Babies. He was right, she knew; everything she’d talked about with Io and Shahin, even Emrys, had told her that. But…

“It’s okay, beloved,” Io murmured. “This place is top of the line with reproductive technology. There’s no need to do it the old-fashioned way.”

“But I’ll still have to find someone willing to donate the, ah, the necessary.” And handle nine months of pregnancy, twice, but she didn’t want to bring that part up right now. “And Yngvi will need a girl, or two.”

“I doubt you’ll have a problem. The issue is going to be finding someone whose child you want to raise, who doesn’t already have his two.” Ioanna’s lips curled in amusement. “Luckily, cy’Luca are generally too nice for their own good.”

Knowing what Tolly had done, Ayla wasn’t so sure about that, but that was another thing she didn’t want to bring up. Instead, she asked. “Your first…?”

“By Smitty,” Ioanna smiled. “I might like girls a lot, but I like boys, too, on occasion. And Smitty is a nice guy.”

“Oh.” She’d been dressed as a boy when she first met Io, but she’d thought… she didn’t really know what she’d thought, actually. “Smitty?”

“He’s a nice guy,” Io repeated, “with an unfortunate habit of being very much in love with the wrong women. Not me,” she clarified, “although he does seem to love Cecy, our daughter.”

“Cecy.” Ayla smiled faintly. “Could I meet her?”

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Furlough, (Rin and) Girey

A short drabble of Girey, in Osslund, after:
In Context (available in Tales for the Sugar Cat), Unexpected Hello (LJ, and Not. Jealous. (LJ)



It was easy for Karak to say; he was on his third cup of the bitter, greenish drink that the Callanthe drank as a cocktail. Girey had swallowed one small glass by not breathing, but had declined a second, his tongue still burning from the first.

“No, I mean it.” Karak set his glass down, and shook his head warningly. “You’re not in battle anymore, soldier. Let it go.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Girey answered stiffly. Where had Rin and Noni gotten to? There had been a lot of laughing and whispering, and they’d headed upstairs, leaving him shackled to the chair with this one-legged veteran for company.

“You’re still on duty. Rin’s been hauling you across the country for how long, and you’ve still got your back stiff, you’re still acting like you’re on patrol. Relax. You’ve been mustered out.”

“I was captured,” he countered.

“And, not to be rude, but your country was defeated. You can’t lead a noble resistance from the back of your captor’s goat, and, besides, you’re not going to stab her in the back.”

“You seem awfully sure about that.” Never mind that Girey was pretty sure he was right.

“I’m pretty sure about people, that’s all. If she continues to treat you right, you’ll continue to be loyal to her.”

“That’s an exaggeration.” He was not “loyal” to the enemy!

“All right, all right. Another drink?”

“No.” Training kicked in, covering over his sullenness. “No, thank you. I’ve had enough.” And so had the other man, but that wasn’t his place to say.

“Hardly. I could build a table with you, you’re so stiff. So you’re not loyal to her, but you’re not going to stab her. You can’t really escape. So relax. It may not be the rest time you were hoping for, but it’s a rest. You don’t have anything you have to do here.”

He studied his empty glass thoughtfully. “So,” he said, carefully, in Callanthe, “you’re suggesting I look at being taken prisoner as… a furlough?”

The veteran laughed. “You were a commissioned officer, all right. Nobility? Enlisted men know to take every break you get. Never know when another one might come.”

“You might have a point.” Girey leaned back in his seat, pondering Karak’s words. If the soldier had noticed, Rin had; if she thought he was still preparing for battle, she’d never let down her guard around him. Maybe it was time to relax.

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Tuesday, with strange fears

The weather has been a bit dismal, so yesterday T. finished pulling stuff out of the left half of the House’s eaves. Among the odder finds – porn, for instance, or very strange crocheted bottle covers over wine bottles full of sand – was a WWII era cot, still mostly intact, and a steamer trunk.

Once upon a time, I wrote a story where people, having bought a house, found a steamer trunk in the hidden passageways with a baby skeleton inside. I wrote it, and it still creeped me out. So having found a steamer trunk in the back of a semi-hidden eaves hideaway…. yeah, I made T open it first.

No skeletons. An old mouse-nest and some chewing damage, but no skeletons. I may have to refurbish it. *adds to list*


Links of the day:
I totally want this.
and I think I need to make this.

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IconFlash – Ayla – Sunday Night content

New flash series! I’m going to write one flash for every Icon I have, over 4 LJ accounts, 1 DW, and a whole bunch of not-currently-in-use, until I get bored or run out of icons.

Today’s icon:

Addergoole, Aelgifu.

Icon & Art by Djinni

This takes place in time-line about at Friday’s chapter. For context: Ayla struggles through the first nine books of the story with identity issues, and has recently gone through a Change (as has her half-brother, Yngvi); see Meeks’ sketch).

Ayla snuggled against Ioanna Sunday night, heedless of the occasional over-done glances of disdain Yngvi shot their way. The TV in the lounge was set to a mindless movie, they had a board game they could all enjoy without too much effort, and she had two of her three favorite people with her.

She kissed Io spontaneously, never mind who might be walking by. Her lover – wasn’t that neat? She had a lover, a girlfriend! – responded with a warm smile. “What was that for?”

“Because you’re wonderful, and I love you,” she giggled.

“No more wine for you,” Yngvi teased, moving the already-empty bottle closer to his side of the table.

“Piffle on you.” She kissed her girlfriend – her girlfriend! – again. “This place may be a very strange prison,” she mused, content in the warmth of Ioanna’s arms – A-R-M-S, and a double letter on S, and that also made A-T and A-S, not bad for her second glass of wine, “but it certainly has its benefits.”

“Me, for example?” Io’s lips were warm against the high strangeness of her ear.

“You, for instance,” she agreed. “And finding out I had a big brother. And not being a freak.”

Not being a freak?” Yngvi fingered his own newly-budded horns dryly. Ayla was un-deterred, and flopped her rabbity ears at him.

“Not being a freak,” she agrees. “Face it, Vi. Nobody here cares if you’re gay, or straight, or purple polka-dotted.”

“Not at all,” he agreed. “As long as you make babies.”

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Little Lost Kitty Girl: Tir na Cali

For [personal profile] lilfluff‘s commission and [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith‘s prompt, from the most recent Giraffe-Call-for-Prompts

Original post here.

They couldn’t have unlocked her collar if they wanted to; she wasn’t, legally, theirs. The girl they called Patches was a foster-kitty of sorts, placed with them to learn what a household was supposed to be like, and what a slave in that house was supposed to act like.

Where they were moving, however, was a small gated community, a step up the social ladder and the sort of place where a moddie slave would be hard to explain, so they left her behind. They made sure she had plenty of water and food, but packed up around her and set her to her room as they left, so she wouldn’t see them leaving her behind. The youngest petted her behind her furred ears for a while, and cried, forgetting, the way the family often did, that their kitty-girl could speak and understand English as well as any human.

The girl they called Patches, whose mother had called her Tanya-Marie, listened to all of it, and murrowled cutely, because her foster-owners were more comfortable with her miawing than speaking, and waited in her room until they were gone. She wondered, for a while, if she’d done something wrong. Raised in the Agency, she didn’t have the slave instincts that the other servants did; raised by other modified beings, cat-people, she sometimes gave in to feral behaviors. But she’d done everything they asked her to, and, despite all the jokes, she’d never peed on the carpet.

They’d left her her clothes, along with maybe a week’s worth of clothes, but they’d also left, by accident, a small laptop. Tanya-Marie hooked into the internet and began searching.

The walk, once she’d found her route, was long, and hurt her feet, used to indoor living. People stopped her, either for the novelty of talking to a cat-girl or for the concern of seeing a runaway slave, but her tags said she had free rein to wander (she was an Agency cat, after all) and there was nothing they could really do to stop her.

Three weeks later, a hungry and slightly bedraggled Patches showed up, miawing sadly, at her foster-owners’ new house.

She went to the back door; that had been one of her first lessons. Slaves went to the back door unless they were escorting their master or mistress. Slaves weren’t seen in the public areas of the house unless they were doing their job.

The cook-and-housekeeper, Ashley, answered the door, and tsk’ed unhappily when she saw Tanya-Marie. “Oh, you poor thing. Come on in here, no, right into the mud room with you. I told them they shouldn’t leave you behind, but, of course, no, they wouldn’t listen. Where have you been?

Her throat parched, the cat-girl answered only with a weak “miew.” The older slave made a chagrined noise in the back of her throat.

“You’re a mess, aren’t you? All right, sit down, there, shower yourself off. I’ll bring you some clean clothes.”

The mud-room was equipped with a large utility sink, and it was there that Ashley had directed her. Ears flat – she didn’t like showers – Tanya-Marie did as directed. She showered until the water ran clean and her fur and hair were plastered to her, by which time Ashley had returned.

“That’s a good kitty,” she praised her, and, as Ashley always had, fed the girl a couple treats in a flat-palmed hand. Grateful for the food, Tanya-Marie lipped up the treats and swallowed them, then miawed cutely for more.

“Don’t try that on me, kitty. I know better.” Despite the scold, Ashley was gentle as she toweled off the younger slave. “Where have you been?

Her throat wetted by the shower-water, she managed an answer. “Walking.” She held up one foot to show the old calluses and new blisters. Maybe she’d get another treat?

“Tch. They shouldn’t have left you, really shouldn’t. Why didn’t you go back to the Agency?”

The Agency was a lot harder to track than her foster-family had been. She had done some looking, of course, trying to find a facility to return herself to. In the end, though…

“This is where I was placed. I am supposed to stay with these people.” She headbutted gently against Ashley and the towel. “This is my home.”

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Spring Break – Continued

This began to [personal profile] lilfluff‘s commissioned prompt in my August Call for Prompts: “A story in which both parties believe they are the abductor and the other is the abducted.”

It continued as that Call’s donation-perk story-continuation.

Sections of 83 words for the first part, 186 for the second, because it pleased me to do so.

“Come away with me this weekend.”

The words had sounded so innocent, and been so permanent under the surface. Spring Break. No schoolwork to worry about (other schools might try, but a state school knew better than to bother), parents who weren’t going to ask where their kids were going, in case they accidentally found out, and she’d lied to her friends about her secret plans for the weekend. By the time anyone realized they were gone, it would be way too late.

“With you? Sure.”

That made everything both harder and easier. He’d been working out a plan, but hadn’t expected the opportunity to jump into his lap like this. He didn’t have all of his details in place; he was going to have to wing some of it. He came up with a lie for his parents and another for his friends, and packed his special bag inside his normal suitcase. He really hated winging it. It left way too much up to chance.

“It’s just down this road.”

Away from everything, secluded, private. Far enough away that nobody would hear them. Far enough away that even finding them would be tricky, unless you knew what you were looking for. Her uncle had built the place. She had never asked him why; she didn’t really want to know. She’d bleached it roof to basement when she inherited, and waited for the family to forget about it, and him, and her.

They’d been more than willing to oblige.

“This place is really out there, isn’t it?”

More than out there, it was the sort of remote he hadn’t known existed this close to the city. They’d been driving for half an hour since the last gas station (she’d filled up there, much to his relief), and the houses were few and far between, nestled into hillsides. Often, all you saw was the mailbox, lone and lonely-looking. He tried to memorize everything; he didn’t want to stand out, lost, when he left.

“Now that we’re all alone…”

With her touch, the cabin had become pretty cozy. She’d pulled all the drapes and lit a fire, leaving them enveloped in wood-paneled hunting-lodge charm. Even a passing hiker wouldn’t nothing anything, which was good, on the rare occasion that things went sour. Uncle Thomas had really planned for everything.

(She’d left the flower bed alone. She didn’t want to know who was under there, any more than her parents wanted to know where she got her money).

“Quite alone.”

The place reminded him of a couple of his bolt holes. It was well-situated, well-provisioned, and cozy, with what looked from the outside like a full basement. Somebody had put some money into this place. And now, here he was, locked in it (she hadn’t noticed when he pocketed the deadbolt key) with his quarry. Cuddled on the couch like the college kid he was pretending to be.

The only trick was going to be getting out of here with her.

She snuggled against the boy, wishing, for a moment, that she was the college girl she was pretending to be. It would be nice to have a boy to cuddle like this, someone sweet, someone who really wanted to be with her. It would be nice to not think of him as an income source.
Her uncle had left her more than his workshop, however; he’d left her contacts, hungry contacts, who would do her all the favors she needed, if she kept them sated. It was like being left a pack of nearly-tame sharks – keep the water red with blood, and they’d always do what she wanted. Fail them, and they’d eat her.

The boy flipped through channels, pausing on Jaws, and she couldn’t help but chuckle. “Sharks,” she explained to his curious glance.

“You don’t like sharks? There’s tigers on, too.”

“No, no.” Tiger was what her uncle had always called her. “Sharks are wonderful. I love sharks… especially on tv.” Especially fake sharks.

She loved sharks. He smiled into her shoulder. This was going to be fun. He was willing to bet she was a screamer; with a place like this, he could listen to her all he wanted and not have to worry about onlookers. It was awfully considerate of her, really, to bring him out to a place like this. He’d be sure to repay her consideration. Anesthetic, maybe. He had some in his bag, but rarely found cause to use it. For her, though… she was something else.

“Sharks it is.” He kissed her, a Him kiss and not one his persona would usually give, the sort of thing that was half promise and half threat. He loved the moment when he could let down his hair, as it were, and stop pretending. “You don’t like tigers? I always thought of you as sort of a feline sort.” And maybe she’d yowl for him.

“Oh, I am. Doesn’t mean one predator likes another one,” she purred.

She liked this moment the best, when she could stop pretending and start getting down to business. But there was something off, this time, with her prey. That kiss, for one… she kissed him again, to be certain (and because it had been a nice kiss), and then once more. On the third try, she opened her eyes.

His eyes were open, too, and there was a look in them she recognized – not from her prey, but from the sharks. He was every bit as much a predator as she was, and hungry, ready for the kill. She wondered what his MO was, and how he’d scoped her out as prey. She wondered if he had a plan. Most importantly, she wondered if he had figured out what was going on yet.

“You taste delicious,” he rumbled, licking his lips, and she decided he didn’t, yet.

“You have not yet begun to taste me,” she informed him, smirking, and was rewarded by a lazy grin.

“I look forward to sampling you, then,” he replied. She was going to be fun, wasn’t she, all spunk and arrogance? He liked the arrogant ones the best – they broke the quickest, but the prettiest, and once they were broken, they were so entertaining.

She hadn’t figured out what was going on yet, either, which made it all the better. The longer he could drag it out… he kissed her again, because she not only tasted delicious, she kissed like the tiger she said she didn’t like. Her hands were travelling over his body – the idea of a willing participant, equal partner in his expeditions began to tempt him. He didn’t have to have this one as prey. She could come along, instead, hunting others with him. It would be the wildest ride he’d ever been on. It would certainly be wilder than anything she’d seen before.

“Still delicious,” he opined, and opened his eyes, just as she wrapped something cold and steel around his wrist.

It was more entertaining than normal, the moment when he realized he was screwed. He shook his hand against the cuff – the other end fastened to the very sturdy couch frame – and his eyes got wide, but she could tell he was still plotting, still looking for his advantage.

“Very funny,” he smiled. “I didn’t know you were into the kinky stuff.”

He still didn’t know, did he? Most of them weren’t nearly this slow on the uptake; was he stupid, or just arrogant? Either way, he was reaching for his pocket – no, that couldn’t be good. She kicked his free hand out of the way, pinning it to the couch while she reached for the second cuff.

“None of that,” she growled. “You are going to stay right where I put you, until I’m ready to let you go.” She snapped the cuff around his free wrist while he was still gaping at her. “And if you’re lucky, we might get kinky for a little while.”

If you’re lucky…. He tugged sharply on the cuffs, gauging quickly that yes, they were tight, and yes, the couch frame they were attached to was too sturdy to break. She was going through his pockets; he kicked back at her, trying to stop her, and got bashed against the knee for his trouble.

“I can tell you’re going to be feisty,” she commented, as she grabbed his ankles and looped a length of chain around there. Where was she getting this stuff? Ah, under the couch. Shit, she really did have this all set up. But did she know… best to keep playing along.

“Feisty?” he asked, faking a tremor in his voice. “I don’t understand – what are you doing? Doesn’t kink usually involve less clothes?”

Her chuckle was not reassuring. She was a hunter, for sure. No wonder she had this place, all tricked out in the middle of nowhere. No wonder she’d invited him out here. The question was, what kind of hunter?

“We’re getting to the naked.”

She could see when he understood, even though he was still trying to fake innocence. Good. She was ready to cut to the chase. She chained his ankles to the other end of the couch, and sat down on his thighs while she went through his pockets.

Ah, there, mace, knife, another knife, another knife… latex gloves. Hrm. She wondered what would be in his bag. Plenty of time for that later; she carried the loot to her safe, dropped it and the bag in, and returned with her own knife. “Now,” she said, savoring a line she’d used over and over again, “to get to the naked part.”

He tugged on his restraints. “Easier to do if I’m untied.”

“Considering what you had in your pockets… no, I don’t think so.”

His eyes narrowed. “Would you have untied me without the gear? You didn’t bring me here for fun and games.”

“You didn’t come here for fun and games, either.”

“I came here to play with you,” he hedged, testing the bonds again. He didn’t like the look of the knife she was holding – short and sharp, it wasn’t intended to kill. She wouldn’t kill him here on the couch, anyway, not if she was reasonable. She’d have another place for that – probably the basement. How was she going to get him down there?

“And I,” she unbuttoned his pants, “came here to play with you. Ironic, isn’t it? A campus full of prey…”

“…and we both picked up predators.” He smiled back at her as she peeled his pants down to his ankles. “You know, we could work together. Hunt together.” He was surprised to find he meant it. She was smarter than he’d thought, sharp and dangerous. He might still prey on her when he got free… but he might not.

“We’d kill each other,” she answered him shortly. “I have a feeling what sort of monster you are. I don’t work with monsters.”

He laughed at her as she pulled his pants to his ankles. “You have me tied to your couch and you’re calling me a monster?”

“I never argued with the label ‘predator,’” she countered, and began cutting his pants off of him. He was flaccid in his shorts, watching her with professional curiosity rather than lust. “But I think we’re in different classes.” Something about his vibe, at least, suggested she wouldn’t have survived the encounter.

“So you think I outclass you?” He was holding very still now, watching her knife.

“Let’s just say I think we have different goals.” She didn’t bother pulling his boxers down before she cut them off, and was rewarded by a small wince. Still, he plowed on.

“Goals. If you have goals, I can help you achieve them.” Monster or not, with a blade to his balls he sounded like all the rest. She laughed at him.

“You’re going to help me. Why do you think I brought you here?”

Arguing with a woman with a blade to his privates seemed like a bad idea. “You brought me here to help you? Unlock me, and I’ll help you.” Her lines were too much like his own; she’d done this before, and enjoyed it.

The question pressing on his mind, as well as on the rest of him, was what “this” was, for her. If she was like him, he had a very short window in which to escape. If she was, as she thought, less of a monster –likely, for her definition of monster – then he could take his time, look for an opening.

“You know I’m not going to do that.” She stood up, leaving his shirt on, and walked over to the safe, her body blocking the combination. “You know you’re not going to help me like that.”

He stared with growing concern at the oxygen mask and canister she was bringing over. This couldn’t bode well.

“I can…” the mask cut off the rest.

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.

Monday, Happily Tired

This weekend involved a lot of shopping of the sort both of us can get behind – Stuff for the House, and Stuff for the Kitchen.

We now have paint for the bedroom, have agreed on trim & stain colors (woo) for the downstairs (Upstairs is a long-term project, which reminds me…)

…does anyone reading this use their home as a home office, and do you have any resources re. taxes ant the like there?

We also pulled out more dead and just-in-the-way wood from the hedgerow, spent half an hour chopping and digging at a stump, and chopped/lopped/sawed much of that wood into manageable lengths to start a firewood pile. Busy-fun weekend!


The poll is up for the donation-perk story from the last Giraffe Call.

There is also, if you are a donor, a poll (DW) to determine what the donor perk stories will be about.


Check out [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s continuing writing from her Garden of Prose!


Link today from DaHob:

And a concept from Cluudle: “Wendy House.”

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here or there.


Iconflash! Today’s icon:

Stranded World, Autumn.

Icon by [personal profile] dhamphir

This is the prequel to Love Letters and Colder Weather, and comes after this story.

Guys, I am ensaddened that Meeks’ sketch of Autumn (DW) has not yet received the 6 commentors required to get a clean-up. So, for every comment, signal boost, or donation this (or any of her sketches of my stories) get, I will write 100 more words of this story.

“Lady Fall, again?”

“You’re always wishing me ill,” Autumn answered without turning. It let her hide the ridiculously gleeful smile. “Tattercoats, I did not think to see you again so soon.”

“And if you don’t turn around, Lady Fall, you shan’t see me at all. Do you require assistance with thy booth?”

“I never require assistance, but a bit of help would be a boon, aye. I thought you were headed to points west.” She hopped down from the railing she was perched on and handed him a box of art, still not, yet, looking him in the face. If she did, he’d see how overjoyed she was to see him.

“Ah, but is not this west of where we last met?”

“Mostly South,” she countered. “Those go on the back wall, if you would, sirrah.”

“And you are determined to turn that lovely shoulder to me cold, Lady Fall. Why is that, prithee?”

Because you’re as constant as the wind, and as flighty. She busied herself with a box for a moment. “Because, Sir Tattered, you lied to me, and I am displeased. And whether you merely fudged the truth or spun a web, thy intent was to deceive.”

Thanks, [profile] xjenavivex!

“You wound me, Lady.” He smirked at her, thinking she couldn’t see him through the pile of curtains she was holding. “I swear to you, I had no intention of deceiving you.”

She stepped back on the rail to hang the gauzy strips of cloth. “I don’t believe you.” She let her voice go flat, hoping he’d catch the cue to drop the games.

Tattercoats had never missed a cue in his life. Summer would love to have him on stage with her. “Then I’m truly sorry, Autumn. But I didn’t know until two days past that I was coming.”

Thanks, [personal profile] kelkyag!

She set down her burden and studied his face. He could lie like a pro, of course; it came with the job. But… she let her eyes travel down, from his very-sincere expression to his hand, and the lace at the edges of his cuffs, sticking out of the edges of the patchwork coat that gave him his nickname. There were, if she looked very closely, strands of a charm woven into the lace. Ana-Marie of Myrkfaelinn did work like that, sometimes – but only for people who knew what to ask for, or for her lovers. Which was he?

Thanks rix_scaedu

He followed her glance, and ostentatiously straightened his cuffs, and then his coat, so she could see the lines of embroidery with strands woven stealthily into them, and the identifying glyph half-buried in mud on the hem. “You wear yours out where everyone can see,” he explained apologetically. “I’ve never been that bold.”

“Very few can read it,” she answered uncertainly, tracing the glyph twisted among her body art. “I didn’t know that you could.” What else had he been hiding from her?

“I didn’t know until just now that you were for real.” His downcast eyes were apologetic – truth? Or another lie?

Thanks [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith!

“‘For real?’” she asked incredulously. “What else would I be, wearing the mark out like this , drawing it into my art, hanging it out like a banner?”

“A tourist. A hobbyist, the sort who read about it in a book somewhere. A scholar, taking on a role for the Faire. That you wear it so obviously – I’m sorry, Lady Fall, but that’s what made me think that you were a pretender. My people, we don’t wave flags about saying that we’re Strand-Walkers. We keep the signs more private.

“Your people?” Strand-Walkers. She had heard that term before.

Thanks [personal profile] finch!

He smiled, perhaps a bit sadly. “My people,” he agreed, “as secretive as yours seem to be open.”

That rang like an accusation, and made her shoulders twitch. “You assume,” she murmured. Strand-Walkers. Strand-Walkers… ah. Yes. They shared some kinship, then, though it was a back-door-relations sort of thing at best. “Unless you are lumping me in with Ana-Marie.”

“Ana… Ah. No. She speaks in so many lies that the truth is lost among the tangles.”

Autumn stared at him for a moment, and then let the laugh bubble out. “You make it sound as if she’s the only one.”

Thanks ellenmillion!

It took him a moment, but then he echoed her laugh. “I see your point.” He bowed, one of his deep, floor-sweeping bows. “Your pardon, m’lady.” His voice sounded more serious as he continued. “You were offended by my assumption of openness on your part, or my assumption on who your people were?”

Which had offended her? She frowned at him, piecing together he own reactions.

“Neither, and both.” She hand-waved at his growing smirk. “You assume you know me. Until I read correctly the patterns in your lace, you thought you knew me. You assume again, based on what?”

Thanks jenny_evergreen!

“Based on what you have written on your skin,” he answered, infuriatingly calmly.

“Even though your first assumptions there were wrong?” All of her joy at seeing him here was gone, replaced by a desire to strangle him until he shut up. “Even though you thought I was a fake because of those marks?”

“Even though,” he agreed. “Because, if you are not a fake, then you are either a liar – and I don’t believe you are that, Lady Fall – or you know what you have inked into your skin, and what it means.”

She glared at him for his portentousness. “And what do you think it means?”

Thanks idea_fairy!

Finally, she seemed to have made him uncomfortable. He folded his hands, letting the lace fall over them – which, she noted, made certain Strands fall into a charm of some sort – and looked down at the lace. “Well,” he coughed, “we get back to the matter of keeping secrets.”

“We are still,” she shook her head at him warningly, “on the matter of your assumptions and beliefs about me. Are you worried you will tell me something I don’t already know, Tattercoats?”

“Well, I don’t know what you know,” he admitted.

“And so you assume ignorance. Again.”

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