Archive | November 17, 2011

Parent-Teacher-Conference, a story of Dragons Next Door for the Giraffe Call

This is the follow-up to Rule Two (LJ), which won the poll from October’s Giraffe Call to be continued.

There was a dragon in the school parking lot, between two busses.

This would not normally have surprised or dismayed Juniper. She was used to dragons – not at school, of course; dragons, like most of the very large and very small races, had their own schools. But it was Jimmy, who had been so cranky about Miryam, sitting there on the asphalt looking like a very large decoration. And next to the Smith’s oldest-in-nest, Juniper’s big brother Jin. What was going on?

“Hey, peanut,” Jin called, before Junie could make her escape onto the bus home. “Come over here.”

Peanut. She glared at him, but he was in charge when there wasn’t a parent around. Not that that was in any way fair, but, of course, parents didn’t look at it that way. “I’m going to miss my bus, Jin.”

“It’s all right. Mom and Dad are inside talking to your teacher.”

“To Miss Milligan?” She quailed. “What did I do?”

“Relax, kiddo. It’s not you. I mean… c’mere.” He hugged her suddenly. “Look, I went through the same thing. The parents just don’t pay attention, because things were so much different when they were kids.”

“Oh. My. Gawd.” The voice came from somewhere behind Juniper. Miryam. Miryam, and, from the sounds of the giggles, Ashley and Ally, two of Miryam’s friend. Junie did her best to ignore the girl, but Jimmy was snorting steam clouds. “What. The Hell. Is that?”

Juniper stiffed. “Jimmy…”

“It’s all right,” Jimmy rumbled. “They’re hatchlings. I understand.” The dragon lifted its head to regard the bullies over the top of Juniper. “But your parents said I could give you a ride.”

“A ride?” Miryam and her friends were still behind her, staring at the dragon they swore didn’t exist, but a ride? “In the air? A real ride?” That was more important than being proven right. That was more important than anything in the whole wide world.

“In the air. Not a low-earth-orbit or anything, but a real ride.” Jimmy’s jaw dropped in what only looked like a smile if you knew what you were talking about.

Behind them, Miryam was talking about Juniper being a horrible show-off. But it sounded as if she and the others were backing away, too. Jimmy laughed.

“Hop on, Junie. It’ll be fun, and we won’t even get in trouble.”

She glanced at Jin. He wasn’t going to be sad, was he? Jin was no fun when he was sad.

He was grinning at her, though. Grinning was good. “Go on, Junie. We worked hard to get Mom and Dad to agree to this – don’t waste it. Here, I’ll give you a hand up.” He picked her up like she didn’t weigh anything at all, and set her up on Jimmy’s back, into a sort of leather car-seat-like thing. “Buckle up, here, and here, and here.” He was buckling her in, even as he said it. “And hold on tight, okay, Junes? Don’t let go.”

“I’ll be fine,” she muttered. Miryam was still watching, Miryam and her stupid friends.

“Thinks she’s too good for the busses, silly little trash girl and her trashy friends,” Miryam-the-perfect was sneering. Juniper paid lots of attention to the buckles and handle, so that she wouldn’t cry. Or shout. Miss Milligan got very upset when she shouted.

Jin smacked Jimmy’s flank gently. “She’s all set, bro. Be careful with her.”

“Don’t worry one bit. Hold on tight, Junie.” Jimmy’s wings flapped hard against the air, and he took off. Below them, as the school dwindled away, Juniper could see Jin walking very slowly towards Miryam and her friends.


Audrey and Sage allowed Miss Milligan – “please, call me Samantha” – to lead them into her tiny office and try to seat them before they disabused her of the illusion that she was in charge.

Sage started. He refused, politely, the seat that was offered, preferring to stand, like a retired officer, hands clasped behind his back, between the women and the door. In his long duster, with his long goatee, Audrey imagined he must look rather intimidating.

As she had done more than a few times before, she set out to counter the image, pulling a tea pot and a thermos of hot water from her bag, as well as a tray of cookies. She unwrapped the cookies and, carefully making sure the young teacher could see her hands the whole time, measured the loose-leaf tea into the pot and added the pre-boiled water.

“Tea?” she offered, smiling benignly.

“Ah, yes, I suppose. Mrs…”

“Please, call me Audrey. Audrey and Sage is fine. Cookie?”

“Yes, please. Audrey, then, this is about Juniper. She’s a very bright girl, when she applies herself. But she has a very overactive imagination – these are very good cookies, thank you.”

“An overactive imagination? I’ve never found it excessive when she’s at home.”

“Oh, it can be easy to miss things like this if you’re not trained in it, but when we see her every day, the way a teacher does, it because much more evident. Juniper has been making up stories, making her life seem more interesting than is feasible, for attention.”

“What sort of stories?” That was Sage, in his cool, calm, investigator voice. It clearly ruffled Miss Milligan.

“Stories about eating dinner with ogres, about discussing politics with pixies…”

“You do know,” Audrey interrupted, “that we live in Smokey Knoll?”

“Well, I know Juniper goes home on the Smokey Knoll bus route. But lots of families live in the hills around the Knoll. It’s a big neighborhood.”

“Not around the Knoll,” Sage explained, with quiet precision. “In the Knoll.”

Miss Milligan, in the process of picking up her cup of tea, set it back down again, carefully. Audrey, to encourage her, picked up her own tea and sipped it.

The teacher was still staring at them. Her hands shaking, this time she did sip her tea. And then gulped it.

“Humans don’t live in Smokey Knoll,” she whispered.

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What to do about Auntie X, a story of the Aunt Verse for the Giraffe Call

For Rix_Scaedu‘s prompt.

This is in the Aunt Family setting, which has a landing page now here (and on LJ).

Beryl is one of Evangaline’s nieces.

“But Mom…”

“Don’t argue. You know it’s your Aunt Beatrix’s turn to host Thanksgiving, and you know we can’t very well not show up only on her years.”

“But Moooom,” Beryl’s younger sister Amy picked up the complaint, “it smells funny there.”

“It’s the cats,” their older sister Chalcedony added. “Mom, come on. Someone needs to tell Beatrix that her house smells like cat pee.”

“Well,” their mother pursed her lips, “we do have a new Aunt in the family. Perhaps we can convince her to do the honors.”

Beryl faltered. “Now that’s just mean. Maybe we could call that TV show?”

“The last thing we want is some tv cameras in a Family house. Who knows what they’d find? Beatrix never had any kids, after all.”

“They’d find cats,” Chalce answered succinctly. “And who knows? She could have a kid in there somewhere, and nobody would be able to tell.”

“All right, you girls are just being silly. Sit next to someone with a cold for a couple days before the holiday, and I’ll let you have the Monday after the holiday home sick.”

“You know…” Their brother rarely spoke up. Men in the Family tended not to, after a while. Beryl had heard her father refer to them as the silent minority; personaly, she thought they stayed quiet mostly out of self-defense. Now, they all looked at Stone. Waiting. Stunned. He coughed. “Forget TV. The five of us could manage an intervention on our own.”




“Awesome! Mom…!”

Their mother shook her head slowly. “An intervention. Well. It would make Thanksgiving awkward…”

“But it would make it smell so much better!”

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Encountering Dad, a story of Rin & Girey for the Giraffe Call

For LilFluff‘s prompt.

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… ()

“I need to visit my parents,” Rin-Arinya-Arinyanca had declared. They had only been in the palace complex for a few days, but Girey had already learned that, much as when they were on the road, “I am going somewhere” quickly became “we are going somewhere.”

In this case, it was, at least, reasonable. They were attending Elenerja’s wedding that afternoon, already dressed for it in Callanthe finery. This was, in theory, just a brief stop.

Nothing these people did was brief, any more than anything they touched was dull-colored. They could turn dinner into a three-hour affair with the slightest provocation. The wedding was supposed to last from sundown until sun-up, with a week-long celebration afterwards. He’d asked “how do you people ever get anything done?” only to receive a cryptic “we’re very efficient” as an answer.

He followed her into her parents’ suite with more than a little trepidation. So far, people had been either nice or politely chilly, but those were family members, cousins, aunts, uncles. This was her parents. The parents of the woman whose captive he was. It was…

“Oh, you must be Arinya’s Bitrani captive.” A big hand clapped him on the shoulder. “I’ve got an ancient Bitrani artifact I want to ask you about.”

“Uh… sure, sir.” He glanced at the hand – not all that big, by Bitrani standards, but for Callanthe the man was a giant – and then at the man, who was as tall as Girey was, green-eyed, and smiling fiercely. He collected himself, with a stern mental reminder that he was a prince, not a yokel, and ought to act like it, and stood up straight. “Where to?”

“Right here, into my study.” He steered Girey firmly through the door, then shut it with a solid thud behind them. Wood doors, Girey noted, and heavy – they might have far too many heirs, but they certainly lived like royalty.

“There,” the man smiled. This room was paneled in stone, with drawers, boxes, and shelves filling every spot. “I do have an ancient Bitrani artifact – it’s a scroll – though I know you’re a soldier and not a scholar. But Irri and Rinnie are going to go off about things that, frankly, bore me and likely bore you too. So I thought I’d get you out of there.”


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The Life You Make

For rix_scaedu‘s prompt.

This is a continuation of the Baram story posted in Monster (LJ), Memories (LJ), and One Sharp Mother (LJ).

Faerie Apoc, Addergoole Year 17 – landing page here (or on LJ)

Baram threw the monster – a real monster, a beast, a so-called returned god, a shit who had been attacking his neighbors – through the front wall, and jumped after him. The thing had ripped out a few of Baram’s ribs, and done something unpleasant to his stomach, but right now, he didn’t care. He’d care later, maybe, when his house was safe.

He ripped the weapon out of the god’s hands and shoved it through the creature’s face, swearing incoherently at him, spitting blood all over the thing. He jammed the weapon into the creature again and again, spewing profanity and bodily fluids over him, until the thing was in pieces. Then, only then, did he look up.

In the doorway of the house, a bunch of kids – more than he thought there ought to be by nearly double – were staring at him. In the gate to the backyard, his women were standing, holding up, loosely, a bleeding Grigori.

He looked back and forth between the groups. His women. His family. His house. And strangers. He showed teeth to the Grigori stranger, who took a cautious step backwards into Jaelie. She, in turn giggled.

“He followed us home,” she offered, pointing at the ruined side wall. “Can we Keep him?”

The Grigori wilted under Baram’s gaze, which made him smirk through a mouthful of blood. “Only if he’s useful.”

“Jasfe Eperu τεῖχος,” the man offered, and, behind Baram, the wall put itself back together.

“All right,” he allowed. “As long as he doesn’t piss on the carpet, same as the dog.”

“Wow.” A kid’s voice he didn’t recognize brought Baram’s attention back to the doorway full of children. “Your dad’s awesome.”

“He’s not…” Gerulf started, and then met Baram’s eye. “Yeah,” he said, as a small smile crossed his face. “Yeah, he’s pretty cool.”

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Character Development Meme (morning Warmup), Question 2

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 1 here and on LJ.

Question 3 here and on LJ.

2.) What are your characters most prominent physical features?

The RoundTree Siblings:
They share a stubborn chin they inherited from their father and a strong nose they got from their mother, a build that is sturdy or athletic rather than willowy, and a medium height that is neither tiny not giant.

Winter’s hair went prematurely white (his sisters blame Spring); he wears it long and in a ponytail, and it’s arrow-straight.

Autumn’s hair is a curly mess of russet, which she wears mostly-loose.

Summer’s hair is golden blonde, and as straight as Winter’s. It spends much of its time in a ponytail.

Spring’s hair is dirty blonde, light brown, and worn feathered and, no surprise, a little chaotic.

Conrad: The tail is probably the most notable, and his oversized, extra-digits-and-knuckles hands and feet. With his Mask hiding those Changes, the hands and feet are still oversized, and his once-broken nose and blue, blue eyes stand out more strongly.

Rin: Rin is a model of her ethnicity, as is not all that surprising from a member of the royal family. Her long black hair and small mouth with its rather generous smile are most notable; her skin is a light mocha-tan in the cold season, but, after several seasons at war and on the road, is burnished to a dark very-slightly-olive tan.

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