Archive | November 2011

Worldbuilding Ponderings

(Ask me about the wool-felt short shorts, I dare you)

Wondering if the Callanthe, or the Bitrani, have a concept of “being humane.”

Wondering if the story falls into tropes too often. Here she is rescuing prisoners from harsh conditions… that sort of thing

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Further Discussion Follows, a story of Rin & Girey for the Giraffe Call.

The $35-level continuation story from the November Giraffe Call.

This is in the Reiassan Setting, which has a landing page here (and on LJ). It comes after everything else I’ve written in timeline for Rin & Girey, and directly after/during Mother Knows… (LJ) and Encountering Dad (LJ)

“Are you going to marry him?”

Rin blinked at her mother for a moment, and then shook her head, laughing at herself. She’d been out of Lannamer too long, away from politics, intrigue, away from watching what you said. Away from schooling your face and voice.

“Well?” Her mother was smirking faintly, suggesting she’d read every thought as it moved across Rin’s mind. “Are you going to marry your nice young man? Keep him as a bedwarmer? Use him as a clerk?”

“That’s quite a lot of questions for someone you’ve only met in passing, Ina.”

“You’ve had him in the palace complex for three days, Arinyanca. That’s enough for the word to get out. He’s quiet, but he speaks Callanthe very well, and when he shifts into Bitrani, his accent is crisp and upper-class. He’s a Duke’s son, well-bred, and the people who notice such things think he’s clever. You’ve got him dolled up like a court-dancer, and he fits it very well, but his hands have sword-callouses and his shoulders and arms are very broad.”

“They speak quite a bit about him, the gossips,” she answered mildly, worrying at the stab of jealousy like a loose cuticle.

“There’s quite a bit of speculation. That kiss had people talking within moments.”

“It was a very nice kiss,” she smiled. “He has nice lips.”

“And are you going to marry him? With Elen’s wedding today, it becomes more a more and urgent question.”

“I know,” she nodded, “and I don’t know.”

Arinya’s father pulled the scroll out of its case and rolled it out on the table. “She can be a wild one, my Rinnie,” he confided, “although I’m betting you’ve found that out already. Where was it she captured you?”

Girey colored uncomfortably, and stared at the scroll rather than look the older man in the face. “On the front. Just outside of Ouyknan. I was riding the line in the evening, and she was, too, both looking for wounded.”

“She got the drop on you?” The man sounded sympathetic. “Well, there are a lot worse things that can happen, coming out of a war like that one.”

Girey nodded slowly, more than a little reluctantly. “I suppose you’re right, sir.”

“It’s Egarengar. You can call me Gar. We’re practically family, after all.” He looked up with a very sharp glance at Girey. “Aren’t we, Girey of… Tugia?”

He didn’t like that hesitation. “So your daughter tells me, sir,” he answered evenly. “And she’s in charge.” He fingered the plaque bracelet around his wrist uncomfortably.

Egarengar glanced at the bracelet. “Ah, that,” he smiled. “I wondered if she’d taken it with her. I carved it for her, you know.”

“You did?” He looked at the bracelet again, wondering if he’d ever understand these people. “Why?”

“There’s old superstitions around these things. That if you want to bring home certain qualities, you ask someone with those traits to carve the band.”

“Well,” Inatalana offered, leaning forward, “what will it take for you to be certain? He’s a handsome man, Arinya. And he seems fond of you.”

“He does,” she admitted. “That’s new. He started out hating me, which is to be expected. If our quitari had been on backwards, if I had been the one being captured, I think I would have hated him, too.”

“Marriages have started from shakier foundation than that,” her mother offered. “Arinya, I know I’m sounding pushy, but there have not been all that many men that you’ve expressed an interest in. There was that nice scholar, when you were at University, but that didn’t seem to go anywhere. And then you joined the army.”

“And then I joined the army,” she agreed. It covered all of it, after all: the time away from Lannamer and the palace, the men around her who were not, for the most part, royal, the lack of time for the games of spouse-hunting. “And with Elen’s marriage…” Damn Elen, anyway, for her bad timing. “I’d hoped to have more time to see how he fit in here.”

“So it was part of your plan, then, the possibility of marrying him?” That seemed to reassure Ina.

“It’s been on my mind. He was young and cocky when I captured him, not really what I was looking for. But he seems to have mellowed out over the trip, and I think I’m starting to like him.”

“And it’s clear he comes from a good bloodline.”

Girey stared at the bracelet for a few minutes, and then looked back up at Egarengar. There was a lump of something like hope and something like horror in his throat, but he didn’t want to admit to this stranger any of that. “So you were hoping she’d capture someone?” he asked instead.

“Or find someone. That doesn’t mean quite what I think you think it does, that band.”

“I’m starting to see that. What – what qualities…” he stumbled in his Callenian for the first time in months, and frowned, frustrated, spitting out a few muttered complaints in Bitrani.

“Yes, it is a tongue-twisting language when you get into the interpersonal stuff. I’ve found that Bitrani is much cleaner for that, but it has much less opportunity for nuance.” He still sounded sympathetic, and a little bit amused. “I can’t speak as to what qualities I have, but I can tell you what she said she was looking for. If you think it will help.”

He tugged angrily at the sleeves of his strange, foreign tunic. “Nothing is going to help. She caught me.”

“And you followed her into Lannamer. That’s loyalty.”

“Nowhere else to go.”

“Pragmaticism is not the worst of motives by far.” He pointed at the scroll again. “If I read this correctly, this tells of how a Bitrani King wooed his captive Callanthe wife.”

Girey read the phrase in question. “I am not sure about the word ‘woo,’” he offered cautiously.

“Much like she ‘wooed’ you, mmm?”

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History of Reiassan notes – part the first

Note: I’m not a scholar of history, at all at all at all. Please be kind when pointing out logical inconsistencies!!

A rough history of the people who would become the Callanthe

Timeline numbers from R – discovery of Reiassan (the continent)

(??? BR)
The proto-Callanthe are goat people. They begin as a small tribe of people in the south of Founding-Continent, a group who discovered the advantages of domesticating the wild goats that lived in the mountains near their hunting grounds.

[horses domesticated around 4000 BCE IRL, goats ~~8000-9000 years ago. So “began” is a long time ago even by this timeline… which corresponds loosely to the time of Christ IRL]

The proto-Callanthe were cultural borrowers, appropriators, and thieves; they collected other tribes not so much by conquering them as by assimilating them. In the mountainous south of the Founding Continent, the tribes all came from a very similar stock to begin with (having probably spread out from a small group that came over the mountains), so, at first, this was essentially re-integration.

Once the proto-Callanthe’s territory expanded far enough to run into the unknown people on the West and the proto-Bitrani on the East, the cultural appropriation more often turned to war. The proto-Bitrani, too, had developed cities and seafaring, and some of the proto-Callanthe were intrigued enough to, rather than fight, war, conquer, steal, and assimilate, simple immigrate, acculturate, assimilate, and steal.

Centuries went by this way. Cultures shifted. Wars happened. The population of proto-Callanthe in the proto-Bitrani nations-now-a-single-theocracy had grown to a vocal but generally disenfranchised minority. More importantly for this story, the proto-Bitrani had grown to fill their available land – and the land to the West was still full of warlike proto-Callanthe. They were pushed up against the water – so they started exploring the seas.

(we’re almost to R)

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Fallen, a story of Fae Apoc, for the Giraffe Call

For Rix_Scaedu‘s commissioned prompt. Written in the fae apoc ‘verse, at the time of the apoc.

The Faerie Apoc Landing page is here (and on LJ)

Content warning: gore and implied implications.

As her people counted things, Alionda was rather young. She had seen her first century only a few years before the gates back into the human world opened up, and it was only through an accident that she managed to get through at all, much less as quickly as she did.

She had, however, fallen through one of the secondary gates that had opened when the rebels wrenched open the main doors – quite literally fallen, as this gate was several hundred feet above the ground.

The Ellehemaei body can survive many things that a human can not, but it still suffers from impact injuries, and the Word Tlacatl was not one Alionda the Water-Singer had much skill with. She lay there, at the bottom of a strange hole lined in grey rock, for several days, hungry, her lungs punctured, her body broken, unable to speak enough to form the Words to help heal herself, unable to do much more than hold herself together. She lay there, each breath agony, for an eternity, while around her the city moved and people shouted and clamored and somehow never saw her. If there was a hell, she had found it, below her heaven of Ellehem.

“What have we here? Lovely… and still alive.” Her eyes had flown open at the sound of a voice – a human voice, she was fairly certain. He looked human. He looked handsome. And he was smiling at her. “Are you an angel from the sky, or a demon?” He scooped her into his arms without seeming effort. “I suppose we’ll find out, won’t we?”

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W-T-F, a story of #Addergoole, for the Giraffe Call

To [personal profile] lilfluff‘s commissioned prompt – a bit more of Uh-Oh (Lj) and Oh, Shit (LJ).

Raylan is the brother of a character in Addergoole.

The strange woman muttered a few more words under her breath and, like a stage magician’s trick, pulled her hands apart, revealing long strips of cloth. “Listen,” she murmured quietly. “Hold still and this won’t hurt. You have my word on that.”

She did someone else with her hands, making Ray’s ears pop. “You can talk, as long as you keep it quiet.”

“What are you doing?” he asked, not trying all that hard to be quiet.

“I’m wrapping you up so you have a harder time wriggling, what does it look like?” Indeed, she’d grabbed his ankles and started wrapping the cloth around him over his pants, twisting it firmly.

“Okay, I get that, but I mean, with me. Aside from the floating me in the air thing, which is, by the way, terrifying.”

“I thought that would be patently obvious. I’m kidnapping you.”

“Okay, okay.” He kicked his bound ankles in frustration. “Why? I mean, you said I wasn’t what you were looking for, but I’d do. Who were you looking for? Maybe I can help you? I know this neighborhood pretty well.”

“Well, I suppose it’s possible you know. There’s a young man who lives in this neighborhood. He was about five foot tall the last time I saw him, but that was several years ago; he’s probably grown. Blonde hair. Blue eyes, very blue eyes. Prone to broad shoulders and a nose that is going to make him look like a thug.”

“Curry?” he blinked at her. “You’re looking for Curry?” How could someone go looking for that lump of meat and think he’d do instead?

“Curry, ah yes, that would be his name. You know where he lives?” She’d gotten to his hips by now, wrapping with impersonal efficiency.

“I – yeah. Right down the street.” He turned to point, only to see his father running towards him. “Dad! DAD!” he shouted.

“Raylan! Ray…. Twyla?”

Dad knew this nutcase? “Dad?”


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Wolf at the Door

First Saturday Dance, Year Nine:

Ciara had been talking in a corner niche with a couple of upper-classmen with whom she shared her Chemistry class, but they, being a couple, had moved onto the dance floor when the song went to a slow, romantic tune.

She hadn’t found anyone that she was interested in being romantic with (except the guy she’d just been talking with, but that was clearly not going to work out), but that was no reason to mope in the corner. She turned to go find some of her classmates, and found herself face-to-face with a bicep.

“Dance with me.”

The voice attached to the bicep was deep and rough; the bicep itself was covered in a deep red shirt. Looking up, she saw a black tie, with a tiny woven design of swords. Further up revealed a predatory smile; to the top showed shaggy black hair covering sapphire-blue eyes.

“No, thank you.” She ducked under his arm, and moved quickly without running to the bar, where the light was better and she knew more people. She didn’t look back. It didn’t seem like a good idea to look back.

Second Saturday, Year Nine:

Ciara opened her door, looked outside, and closed her door again. She’d been hearing rumors, a whisper, a murmur, a sideways threat. She knew that something was up, or going to be up. The creepy noises, the dim red lighting, the screams and haunted-house noises in the background – all any of that did was confirm her suspicions.

Her upperclassmen friends had said they might stop by, and it was still early. She passed the time making cookies in the tiny dorm oven, batch after 10-cookie batch, until someone pounded on the door.

She opened it carefully, holding on to the doorknob as she peered out into the darkness.

Into a mouth full of sharp, very white teeth. “Come out and play.”

“No, thank you,” she answered politely. “Would you like a cookie?”

“Cookie?” It confused him for long enough that she could shut the door without hitting him, and that was all, at the moment, that mattered. She slammed it, wishing this place wasn’t so damn literal. Wolf at the door, indeed.

Mid-October, Year Nine:

She knew his name by now. He almost never wore his Mask down, showing those feral teeth and those creepy, creepy eyes, but he liked to show up to the dances that way, so she’d managed to put the two men together into one wolfish upperclassman.

He knew her name by now, too. That was a bit less on the positive side of the ledger. Creepy enough to have him pop up unexpected. Creepier to have him drawl out her name like he was tasting it, licking it.

He was out in the halls after her Hiko class, following her from the gym down towards the suite she’d moved in to. “Keeee-aarrrr-uh,” he growled. “Come and play with me.”

“No, thank you, Amadeus,” she answered politely.

“Call me ‘Deus,” he retorted, stepping in front of her. “Everyone else does.”

“I’m sure they do, Amadeus. I’d rather not play with you.”

“It could be a lot of fun.”

“For you, I’m sure,” she agreed. “Please let me by.”

As always, the politeness seemed to work, and he let her flee.

Mid-November, Year Nine:

This time, it was Tlacatl class she was leaving, and a long conversation with Dr. Caitrin (after some very educational conversations with the girls Amadeus had Kept in years Seven and Eight) had left Ciara determined, if frightened, and a little bit angry.

“Keeee-arrrr-uh,” he called out, coming around the corner. He wasn’t always there, not enough that she could plan for it, and he was never outright violent, not enough that she could feel justified asking her crew to walk along with her, but there was always the threat that he’d be there, like he was today, taunting her. Asking her to play.

“Come home with me tonight.” As he had the last few times, he grabbed her arm, holding her firmly.

“No, thank you, Amadeus,” she answered, as politely as she always did. “I have plans tonight.”

“You always have plans. You ought to come home with me instead. We could have some fun.”

“I’m sure you’d have fun,” she answered. “Please let go of me.”

“I don’t want to.” His grin was sharp. “Nobody’s ever said no to me before.”

“I’m sure they have. I’ve asked.”

“Not like you have.”

“And yet you keep asking.”

“If I ask long enough, eventually you’ll say yes.” He tugged on her arm, this time, pulling her towards him. He was escalating.

She shook her head, out of clever retorts. “Amadeus cy’Valerian, I challenge you.”


Next: Wolf in the Circle

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In Flight, a story of Dragons Next Door for the Dragon Call

This is to [personal profile] lilfluff‘s prompt in the last Dragon Call.

It comes after/during Parent-Teacher Conference (LJ)

“Are you holding on?” Jimmy called back over a shoulder.

“Yes!” Juniper giggled. The wind was whipping past them, so she’d tucked her braid into the back of her shirt, but now she was back to holding on to the handlebar with both hands. The school below looked very small. Even Jin looked small – and Miryam and her friends looked tiny.

“I didn’t know that there were saddles for dragons,” she yelled happily. “I didn’t think people could ride… people.”

“Don’t be silly.” His ear-crests did a funny ripple that they did when dragons were happy. “You ride centaurs, don’t you?”

“I have… but centaurs are half-horse. You’re not half-anything.”

“You’ve ridden on your brother’s shoulders, haven’t you? This is the same thing!”

“Jin doesn’t have a saddle!”

“Jin can’t fly.” The ripple was longer this time, like a laugh. “Are you holding on really, really tight?”

“Real-ll-ll-ly tight,” she assured him, and clutched a little bit more firmly.

“Good! Here we go!” He ducked his head down, and then further down, to the left, his right shoulder rising up, bringing Juniper with it. She had time to start a whooping roller-coaster scream before he went all the way upside down, the straps of the harness pushing against her, holding her on, while she whooped and hollered, and then he was back upright again, his ear-crests open fully. “You liked that?”

“I loved it!” She leaned forward, hugging his neck even as the handle-bar dug into her stomach. “You and Jin are the best big brothers ever!”

She was pretty sure the way his crests wiggled like that was a good thing.

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