Archive | November 15, 2011

And Sisterhood

For @daHob’s offline prompt.

This is in the Tír na Cali Setting, which has a landing page here (and on LJ), with characters I have not used before. It comes rather soon after Brothers and Brotherhood (LJ).

“Cotswald told me I’d find you here.”

Caleb glanced up from his book, refusing to jump, refusing to look nervous. Marianne was not the enemy. Next to him, Cye was having less of an easy time of it. “We weren’t hiding.”

“Clearly not well enough.” She sat down near them. “You weren’t at dinner. The Lady Mother noticed.”

“I wasn’t hungry.”

“That works for you, does it?” She pulled a couple rolls out of her pocket. “I know Cye’s mom will make sure you don’t starve, but you have to leave the library for that.”

“I like the library.” He took the offered rolls anyway, and passed one to Cye. “Thanks, Mare.”

“Hey, I like to look out for you, when I can.” She pulled three cookies out of her pocket and shared them around. “She’s on a rampage, you know.”

What was new? “Cotswald was looking for Simeon.”

“He wasn’t at dinner either. Probably why she noticed you weren’t there.”

Caleb winced. It was one thing to be invisible, another thing to have your nose rubbed in it. “Does this have something to do with Baroness Jacoba’s younger daughter?”

“That squinty half-wit? For everyone’s sake, I hope not.” She filled her mouth with cookie for a few minutes, and they all sat in passably companionable silence.

“Me, too,” Cye offered shyly after a moment. “Your ladyship.”

“You, too, wha… oh, Jacoba’s daughter? Why’s that?”

“She beats her slaves. Not all of them, I mean, but her companion.” Unspoken, because they all knew it: if she beat her slaves, would she beat her husband’s slaves? Would she beat her husband?

Marianne looked grim for a moment. “Thank you for that information, Cye,” she said gently. “I’ll lean on our Lady Mother, if she is talking to Baroness Jacoba about something other than land rights.”

“Thanks, Mare,” Caleb murmured quietly. It would probably be Simeon and not him, if it was anyone, but still…

She smiled crookedly at him. “I owe you two, for what you did with Michel ó Gwydion at that dance last month. And besides,” she added, when both of them flinched at the memory, “you’re my kid brother, Caleb. And you’re his, Cye. I have to look out for you two.”

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Of Clay and Salt, for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] pippin‘s prompt.

This is a one-off.

When Ned Wharton lost his wife Amelia to childbirth, he, too beset with grief and too busy with his work to think of courting another woman, made a golem of clay mud and salt tears to serve as a nanny to his infant son and housekeeper for himself. For a heart, he gave her the glass rose he had given Amelia on their first date, and for a brain, he gave her an abacus. For her voice, he installed a music box Amelia had loved.

He named her Adamanta, and, as his son grew to adulthood, she served the family faithfully. She did not age, and did not sleep, but she could pass, for a short time, as human, and many people assumed that Ned had simply remarried on the quiet. The stone woman was entirely faithful to Ned and young Edward Junior, a devoted house-woman and a scrupulous house-cleaner. She neither gossiped nor was the subject of gossip, and was said by many to be a perfect wife.

As young Ed Junior grew up, Ned, who did on occasion notice what was going on under his roof, saw that Adamanta was becoming quieter and more withdrawn, and would often spend time in the old nursery, holding Ed’s outgrown toys. So he created for her a child, a daughter of clay mud and seasoning salts, a tiny teddy bear from Eddie’s childhood for a heart, a flute for a voice and a puzzle toy for a brain. He called her Adora, Adamanta’s daughter, and treated her as he treated his own flesh and blood.

She was a lovely girl who would never age, never grow up, a sweet thing who loved to hug people and would spend hours drawing strange mystical cities. Eddie was mystified by her – but Adamanta and Adora were invited to his wedding, and had a family’s place of honor next to Ned.

As more time passed, Ned resigned himself to the fact that he was aging. His son had children of his own, who were growing more rapidly than seemed possible, while Adamanta and Adora stayed young and fresh and loyal. As the cough set in, one late, damp February, Ned understood that he would not be around for his wife and daughter for much longer.

He built for them a man of mud clay and salt tears, with a diary for a heart, Ned’s very own journal, and a set of clockwork gears for a brain. He did not give the man a voice, for he had never found he needed to speak much at all, but he did give him a stomach of brass and copper. And with his last breath, he gave this husband of mud a name.


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The family that knots together…

For eseme‘s prompt.

This is in the Stranded World Setting, which has a landing page here. this comes after the donor-perk story The RoundTree Siblings Prepare for Thanksgiving (On LJ.)

They took a moment, the four of them, away from their respective dates (or non-dates), all feeling a little bit guilty about that, to stand on the porch and look at each other.

It wasn’t that uncommon for those who knew the strands to slide their vision sideways when looking at someone else, to see what was going on with them in a more meta sense. For an outside observer, though, those four minutes of staring not-quite-at-each-other might have seemed surreal, even creepy.

Summer reached out first, to sketch a good-luck charm in the air over the foreheads of each of her siblings. That got her three variations on their family wide-mouthed crooked smile, and then Winter took his turn, smoothing out bumps and rough spots. They were a volatile, wild set of sisters, and there were more than a few knots in each of their patterns.

He paused by a tangle near Spring’s heart, question in his expression; she moved his hand gently away, towards a tight knot of conflicted emotion in a similar spot on Autumn. She, in return, flinched, shrugging uncomfortably, but submitted, like a kitten to an older cat’s grooming, to her brother’s ministrations.

That caused Spring to make some nice little tangles in the air around them, nothing too messy, but nothing too smooth; she’d been tangling Winter’s lines since she was born. He patted her head in revenge, and they all glanced at Autumn.

She already had her pen out, and, while there was still a small knot near her heart, she was smiling warmly as she drew, on the underside of each of her siblings’ left wrist, a small pattern. Family, the sigil said. Love. Warmth. Peace.

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Family Planning

For inventrix‘s prompt.

This is in the Dragons Next Door setting, which has a landing page here (and on LJ).

I’m pretty sure I know what race(s) mom and dad are, and will reveal it… later

“I’ve been thinking of having another child.”

Andromeda dropped that over breakfast, while their three kids were distracted with the busy work of devouring calories for the day and elbowing each other out of their personal spaces. Her husband studied her, eyes half-lidded, cautious.

It was a trueism that every child was a blessing, but in a mixed-race family, where having a child required magical intervention and a very very careful laying-in time, it was nothing to take lightly. The second of their three had nearly killed her in the second trimester. But now all three were in school, and she was getting broody again.

Alon, whose people did not, generally, mate for life, was more than a little uncertain what to do with his wife’s seemingly insatiable need for children. But over the breakfast table was not the time to discuss it. “Talk to your mother about finding an egg shell, then?” he offered, “if you’re sure….”

“I’m not,” she admitted. “Aloysius, stop bolting your… what are you eating?”

“Grilled oats with steak?” Their oldest looked up from his meal, grinning ear to ear with teeth that had come in sharp as needles. “Coach says I need to gain some weight if I’m going to wrestle.”

“Are they making up a class for you?” his younger sister taunted. “Scrawny nags who bite?”

“Take it back, Anna!” He poked her in the second set of ribs. “Take it back!”

Andromeda sighed, and met her husband’s eyes. “Really not certain,” she repeated, even as she reached out her third arm to tug their older children away from each other. “No biting at the table, kids.” She tugged Agnella to the other side of her. “It’s the clutching instinct, I’m afraid.”

Alon picked up their youngest bodily before he could bite his brother’s foreleg, and held Afram upside down, four legs waving wildly, a hoof nearly missing his father’s chin. “Maybe we could… get a dog?”

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Giraffe Call So Far!

This has been a slow Giraffe Call, which I’m totally fine with, since I’m still working on my Nano-vel. I have, right now, three prompts left to write for the first batch.

The call is open until I finish those:
On LJ –
and on DW –

After that, I have an additional 5 prompts to write to finish the all donor’s prompts, and then whatever they wish me to write as their continuations. We reached $35, so there will be a poll up at the end of the week for our incentive continuation (have no fear! Last month’s continuation will be done soon!!).

I have one new prompter and no new commenters or donors, so there will be no setting-piece for this round.

Stories to date are (and there’s 11 of them):
Addergoole Yr5
Uh-Oh (LJ)
Family ties (LJ)

Addergoole yr8
Some Say Life (LJ)

Addergoole Year 21
Generations (LJ) and
Revelations (LJ)

Talking it to Death (LJ)

The Aunt Family
The Family Kudzu (LJ)
Difficult Relations (LJ)

Thicker Than… (LJ)

Mother Knows… (LJ)

Tír na Cali
Brothers and Brotherhood (LJ)

The Linkback Incentive Story (LJ) is still incomplete. If you think I missed your signal boost, please let me know!

We reached the first incentive level!

Edited to add: if you are the mystery donor for whom I have an IRL name and a broken e-mail but no screen name, thank you!! What story would you like to see continued with your donation?

Image by viva_la_topknot

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Character Development Meme (morning Warmup), Question 1

As discussed here and on LJ, I’m going to do this meme for a few characters (I’m rotating seasonal sibs to not totally overwhelm myself).

Feel free to suggest another character, and I’ll work through them in rotation.

Question 2 here and on LJ.

(1) Describe your character’s relationship with their mother or their father, or both. Was it good? Bad? Were they spoiled rotten, ignored? Do they still get along now, or no?

Spring: Spring never knew her father; he died when she was still in the womb. Her relationship with her mother is at times very wild – Mrs. RoundTree has distinct ideas about where her children’s lives should be going, and, as a tangler, especially, Spring is very good at countering that. She was a wild kid, who turned to her brother as a father figure, and in a pinch, she’s much more likely to go to Winter or Autumn than to Mom for help.

Conrad: He doesn’t know who his father is, although a year and a half at Addergoole has led him to assume it’s someone in Regine’s breeding program. His mother, Maria, did her best to raise him well, with the help of her older brother and her father. He has a distant-but-okay relationship with his mother, with some small amount of resentment that he keeps very very deeply buried for sending him to Addergoole; he gets along well with his grandfather, and his uncle taught him most of the “manly” skills that come in handy so rarely at Addergoole.

Rin: She’s the seventh daughter in a family of nine, not spoiled but not ignored either. Her mother is more or less professional royalty; she’s never left Lannamer and rarely leaves the palace complex. Her father is a bureaucrat and a businessman who manages portions of the royal finances and helps to keep the roads going and the weapons heading out. Neither are particularly strong in the faith/magic of that world, and neither are of a particularly military or scholarly bent. They approved of Rin’s time in university, but are a little lost by her decision to go military. She, in turn, thinks fondly of them, but with not a great deal of respect.

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