Archive | January 2012

Delving in History, a continuation of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call (@inventrix)

For The [personal profile] inventrix‘s commissioned prompt, a continuation of Scrounging for History (LJ), and Digging through History (<a
href=””>LJ) Part 2 of… probably 7.5

Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

The stairs seemed to go on forever. Karida hated places like this, going into the dark, not knowing quite what was there. She couldn’t imagine doing it “blind,” like a normal human, not knowing if the stair under you would crack or not, not knowing where the walls were. She couldn’t imagine doing it at all if she didn’t know if something lurked in the corners. Not knowing what was lurking was hard enough, nightmare enough.

She hit the bottom of the stairs, reaching for her senses to reassure her that Dor was right behind her, Amalie up at the top looking out, or at least there, if not actually watching. And the something was still there, hiding in the back corner. Waiting for them? Aware of their presence at all? She did not have the Words to know, and Amalie’s Workings were too unreliable (like everything about her, except her song). She kept walking, feeling her way, avoiding the detritus on the floor and sweeping what she could out of the way for Dor.

They were not silent. There was no point in silence, and much more point in being safe. They could trip and fall in stealth, and then both their quiet and their tactical position would be ruined. So instead, they moved forward, hoping it was a wild animal, hoping to spook it out instead of spooking it into attacking them.

Three more steps. Four. The something in the back corner hadn’t moved. “Light,” she murmured to Dor, and he lit the lamp with its small share of oil. A door hung half-off its hinges, a small room defined by broken walls, one hung with pegs. Anything that had hung on the pegs had long since been taken, except one tiny wrench hiding in a corner. Karida pocketed that, pocketed the three remaining pegs, and pushed aside the broken door.

It had been – she wasn’t sure. The ancients had rooms for things she, wagon-born and raised, could hardly imagine. Maybe a storage room? Half-broken crates lined the walls, a few of them, near the bottom, looking intact. They would deal with those later. Hiding, nearly in the crates, in the back corner….

The thing hissed and jumped out at them as Dor swung the light towards Karida’s gesture. Thing, no, not a thing, “flat, Dor, flat,” she called, and tried to take the small woman down with her staff. Two quick thumps to non-vital parts, a third and fourth from the flat of Dor’s wakizashi, and their attacker lay sprawled whimpering at their feet.

“Do you think she’s feral?” Dor murmured. If she was, there would be no reasoning with her, no bargaining. The kindness would be to leave her to her wildness.

“Lee-mee-lone,” the woman muttered. Girl, Karida realized, filthy but with some effort to tidy herself. No older than Amalie.

“No,” she answered slowly. “Or… at least not entirely.” It might have been better if she was.

Next: Bringing Home History (LJ)

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When the Gods Attacked, a story of Fae Apoc for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] kc_obrien‘s prompt

Faerie Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

It has a very very rudimentary wiki beginning here

Maggie went through her Change as Marduk declared supremacy over the capital of New York State, presumably because the bigger gods had already invaded New York City and the Polish & Russian gods taking over Buffalo were more than a little terrifying.

She was walking home from classes with her friend ‘Cray when the strafing began, dragons flying low overhead, lighting buildings on fire at seeming random. They started running, feet pounding the pavement, every beat seeming to be not enough not enough, not enough, and as they ran, her ten-inch height advantage over her friend seemed to grow, and her feet were burning, screaming in pain, her heels feeling like they were moving. She kept running – there was something like a dinosaur lumbering down the street, and they had to get off the roads and into a house, preferably a stone house – until she couldn’t walk anymore, and found herself pulled into a building. There, the pain finally took over, and she passed out.

She came back to consciousness a few minutes later to the smell of ‘Cray filling her nose, thick and feline and worried, like a tom-cat ready to kill something, stronger than she’d ever known him. She opened her eyes, slowly, to find him hovering over her, his now-very-pointed ears pointing at her. A low giggle escaped her. “McCrae, I always said you were a tomcat.”

“And I always said you were a fox. I think I was a little off,” he noted. “Dodger says thylacine, and, more importantly, says we need to leave the city before the fighting really starts.”

“Dodger?” The only Dodger she knew was the bum who played violin for spare change.

“Dodger,” a voice behind her agreed; the bum’s voice, but richer, heavier, and more musical. “There’s a lot to explain, including why I was watching over the two of you, but the TL:DR version is this: Marduk has moved into the city with a crew of about seven smaller fae and a double dozen really nasty human and human-like warriors. The good guys are on their way, and they’re going to do their best to stop him, but everyone and everything will be on the lookout for kids like you, Changed but with no sense yet. Don’t promise anyone anything, don’t tell anyone your names, and by all that’s holy, don’t get into any fights with anyone.”

He was standing over Maggie by the time he finished this, revealing himself to be, well, himself, but with a shaggy tail and perky collie ears, and a much cleaner trenchcoat than she normally saw him in. There were gods attacking the city, so she avoided commentary about Crime Dogs, and simply nodded. She was pretty sure he was trying to save their lives.

“Where do we go? And how?”

He pressed a key into her hands, and another one into ‘Cray’s. “There’s a van outside. There’s a map with a route highlighted on it in yellow. Cray drives. You have the cabin key. Wait there for me. If I don’t come in a month… you’re on your own.” He helped her to her feet and gave them a gentle shove. “Go. There’s a war on, and you’re not ready to be enlisted.”

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Moving on

After Witness (LJ Link)
Three-Way (LJ)
In the Audience (LJ)
Just Be Yourself (LJ)

Addergoole has a landing page here (here on LJ)

This probably needs a trigger warning for magical thinking

Basalt was, Ahouva was learning, not as hard to work around as she’d feared. He didn’t appear to have a temper, certainly not on the lines of Kendon’s, and he had a great deal of patience with her while she fumbled around, trying to figure out how to make him happy.

She was not sure she liked this list that he insisted on – “write down everything that makes you really happy, and everything that makes you unhappy” – but it had become a kind of meditative exercise, a minute after each class where she let herself just think about herself, and how she felt. Sharing it with him every evening – that was less comfortable. It never failed to get a frown, and it never failed to get a “good girl,” until she was finally, today after her magic class, adding “talking about this list” to her list of things that made her unhappy.

Thoughtfully, and because she didn’t like him frowning, she added “Kissing Basalt” to the list of things that made her happy. It was honest – he’d insisted on honesty but, thankfully, not complete honesty – and it would make him smile. She liked it when he smiled.

She closed her notebook and headed out into the hall. He’d be waiting for her; he always waited for her after her last class. It could be kind of romantic, like he was some 1950’s boyfriend, if she didn’t think he was afraid Kendon would get his hands on her. That… She paused in the doorway, and wrote “thinking about Kendon” on the list of things that made her unhappy. Thinking about Kendon terrified her.

“So you have Kendon’s little toy now, ‘Salt?” She paused in the doorway. Kendon’s toy. That was her. Not anymore… but that was her. What would Basalt say.

“I Own Ahouva,” he confirmed, slowly. “Why, Calvin?”

Calvin! She knew him! He’d been all over Timora for the first couple weeks, and then… nothing. And Timora had come out of Hell Night with Arundel, and not speaking.

“Getting’ kind of bored, thought you might want to exchange… favors. She’s a cute little thing.”

“You don’t have anything I want.”

“Are you sure?” Calvin’s voice dropped to a whisper, and Ahouva’s heart dropped. Slowly, she slunk back into the classroom. She could hide. She could… something. Run away? She could run away. Somewhere. Slowly, she sidled out the back door.

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Tea with /HER/, further continued, a story of Tir na Cali for the Giraffe Call @dahob

A continuation of… Tea with HER (beginning) (LJ)
Tea with HER (continuation) (LJ)
Tea with HER (continuation 2) (LJ)
Tea with HER (continuation 3) (LJ)
Tea with HER (continuation 4) ()

I was very busy for several weeks after the mourning period. While I’d been running the Barony by proxy for almost two years, there was a marked difference between “by proxy” and “in fact and law.” Mostly, ceremony. Lots and lots of ceremony.

When I wasn’t being draped in ceremonial whatnots, mouthing ceremonial words, or signing ceremonial documents, I had my new slave to train.

He wasn’t Michael, and, though I tried not to drive that home to him too much, I’m sure it came up more than it ought to. Probably about the seventeenth time I slipped and called him “Michael” instead of “boy” and he found an excuse to leave the room and vanish for four hours.

I didn’t even punish him for that. How could I? It was so much like I’d felt. I did, finally, sit him down and ask what he’d been called, back home.

He had to think that one over, checking, I think, against the Countess’ orders. I made a raspberry noise before he got to an answer. “First things first. Who do you belong to?”

“You, Mistress.” That part was easy, it seemed.

“Very good. Whose orders do you follow?”

“Yours, Mistress. And… and your Chief of Staff.”

“Very good. But you follow Ander’s orders only because I ordered you to. What this means is whatever orders She gave you are no longer in play.” It felt so very, very, VERY good to be able to say that. I think I was grinning as I said it. “You are mine, and not hers.” Although I might be tempted to brand him.

“I’m yours,” he repeated. “Yes, Mistress.” Finally, what I was saying sank in. “My name was James. James Markson.”

“James.” Conveniently, it sounded nothing at all like “Michael.” I smiled at him, very happy. “Then I’ll call you James.”

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And Before That?

To [personal profile] lilfluff‘s prompt

Casey woke up, showered, got dressed, went to work, stopping for a breakfast pastry and a hot drink on the way. Worked for ten hours, with a half-hour break for lunch, went home, cooked dinner, went to sleep.

Nine days out of ten, with a break on the tenth day – and on the tenth day, Casey went to the park, and lay out in the sun, reading a book, enjoying the cacophony of the other 10% of the population taking their day off. The sun was warm, the rain had fallen early in the morning, and the cheap paperback was entertaining, if one Casey had read before.

“Have you ever wondered,” the girl on the next blanket looked a little nonuniform, her hair wild, her tunic trimmed with bright embroidery. Maybe an artist? They had more leeway in such things.

“Wondered?” Casey didn’t wonder.

“What you did before?”

“Before what? Yesterday, I worked. Last week, I came here and read a book. Before that, I worked.”

“And before that?” she prompted, leaning forward, encroaching on Casey’s blanket.

“Before that? The same as…” Casey trailed off. Was life really that boring? Was every day so similar that there really was no memory of the past? “The same as every other ten-day.” But was it?

“You see? I am thirty days into a mural. I will be done in thirty more. But I cannot remember any other mural I’ve ever worked on. And neither can anyone else I talk to. It’s as if we have no history beyond thirty days ago.”

Work, sleep, eat… Casey tried to remember further back, and could not. “That’s impossible.” But was it?

“I think we’re past that stage,” the artist said dryly. “I think now, we should be on to ‘why.’ And, of course… ‘how.'”

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Giraffe Summary! Read the Crazy Fiction! Answer the Many Questions

Since our Last Summary (LJ)

I have written for the January Giraffe Call (and on LJ):

The Cracks
The Dark of the City (Lj)

Origins of Smokey Knoll (LJ)
Planning Board Woes (LJ)
Home to Pixie Town (LJ)

Fairy Town
Strange Neighbors (LJ) [After the Fairy Road (here on LJ)]
Loaves (LJ)
Burning Summer Quest (LJ)
The Beggars (LJ)
City Holiday (DW)
Re-Blessing the Church (LJ)

Fae Apoc
Digging through History (LJ), after Scrounging for History (LJ)
Down in the Dark (LJ)

Tir na Cali
Tea with HER (continuation 2) (LJ)
Tea with HER (continuation 3) (LJ)
Tea with HER (continuation 4) ()

I have written for the December Call (perks & commissions):
Commissions from Last Call:
So. (LJ) Between Years 28 & 29
So I’ve Started Out (LJ) after “Some Say Life.”
Nice Guys (LJ) After “Changed.”

Princesses, Knights, and the Huntsman (LJ)

Strand-Workers and Strand-Working Organizations (LJ

I have written not for any Giraffes:
Addergoole: Boom
Mother-Son Bonding (LJ)
Kept du Jour/a> (LJ)
“Are we killing this one?” (LJ)
Addergoole Yr9
Consequences (DW) Addergoole Yr 9, Ceinwen & Thorburn

Hurt/Comfort (LJ) [Donor perk]


Tangling isn’t just a walk in the park (LJ) Spring & Lance [Donor Perk]

And I asked you more questions:
Mini-Call Poll (DW) (what time should I hold a livewrite for the Mini-call?

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The Dark of the City, a story of the Cracks for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] kay_brooke‘s prompt

The city always looked its best at night, or in the fresh near-dawn just after a rain. The lights dimmed all the rough edges, and made what looked grubby in daylight look romantic, noir, cheerful. In the daytime, the city looked run-down, grubby, like its denizens, past its prime. But like the hookers and hustlers, the nighttime added a shine to everything.

Lane walked down the South Street at midnight, nevermind which of those categories might fit the tight leather pants and tighter tank top, breathing in the smoke-tainted air, feeling the city lights against bare shoulders. The world was beautiful, for a certain definition. The world was certainly better than during the daylight. Times like this, you could believe in a little magic. Times like this, the world covered up its gritty parts for you, made itself into a story.

“Hey, you. I’ve got thirty dollars if you’ve got five minutes.”

The voice was greasy and slick, coming from a dark alley. Not the sort of place Lane liked to go. “Not here. Not there, for sure. Down by Lauren Park. In the light.”

“Heh, kid, not everyone likes the light. Come on, my money’s as good as anyone’s.”

“I don’t do creeps, spooks, cops, or monsters,” Lane answered shortly. “And if you’re hiding in a shadow, I can’t tell which of those you might be.”

“Only way to get the money.”

“I’m not a junkie.” Anymore. “I’m not that hard up for cash.”

“Pity,” the voice glorped. “We’re going to have to do this the hard way.”

Lane had started running at “Pity.” By then, it was too late. Something was already grabbing, pulling, tugging.

“Shit, shit, shit.” Tripped, elbows scraping across the pavement, scrabbling for any sort of purchase, Lane gave in to the small bomb of magic living deep inside. “I don’t do fucking goblins, either!”

The world exploded in a blast of light, a tiny sun, followed by a long splash of water, flooding the streets, washing away all the … filth… Lane stood up, looking around in the sparkling air. The city was always its best just before the dawn, just after a rainfall. Times like that, you could believe in a little magic.

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Home to Pixie Town

For Friendly Anonymous’ prompt.

Dragons Next Door has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

Passiansi was going home for the summer, which was just about forever in pixie years, but her mother had insisted, and her father had shaken his fist, and that had been it; Passiansi was packed up and shipped out Home.

Never mind that she had been born in the Big City and lived her whole life in Smokey Knoll, and her parents and their parents before them; never mind that “Home” hadn’t been home for their line of pixies in fifty years or more, sometime around their fifth birthday, the summer before they were officially adults, the family decreed that every young pixie had to visit Home, the pixie city down in the southlands.

The twelve-hour bus ride – the bus driver seemed uncertain about having a pixie on the greyhound, but shrugged and took her full-price ticket. “You paid for a full seat, you get it,” the rotund human – or maybe an ogre – had declared, and Passiansi had rode the twelve-hour drive in absolute luxury – dropped her off at an elaborate gate, huge by pixie standards but, to a girl who’d gone to a human school her whole life, not all that impressive. It wasn’t even as big as the school doors.

But it was where she was going, so she flew through it. So this was Home, then? Tiny, with aspirations to some sort of Big-ness? Hidden off the side of the highway where humans wouldn’t even notice it? A doorway between two stone walls?

She hit the shimmering line of the glamour, and was knocked backwards, nearly falling back out of the doorway. “Woah.” She hovered in place, trying to take it all in. It was a carnival and a madhouse and an explosion all rolled up into one, the buildings climbing up into the sky, stacked on top of each other like Christmas presents, the roadways sometimes just tunnels, sometimes nearly as broad as a human street. And in the streets, in little floating carts – how did they get them to float?! Were they hanging from wires? How did it all work – were pixies of every color selling what looked like just about everything.

Passiansi felt for the pocket-full of pixie cash her grandmother had handed her. “You’ll need this to get down the rue-rue,” she’d told her. “Save the rest for later.” Feeling its hard jingle, seeing the thousand beautiful carts, Passi was sure it wouldn’t be weighing her down long.

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Nice Guys

To Anonymous’ commissioned prompt, a continuation of this story (and on LJ).

Addergoole has a landing page here and on LJ.

Calvin had seemed like such a nice guy.

Looking at him now, from the safety of Arundel’s arms, Timora wasn’t certain anymore. Sure, he’d taken an interest in her, when no-one else had, but here he was standing there next to Tiggs, staring at her, and claiming she was his. Arundel had said he was too late. Too late? That seemed like a strange thing to say.

“Is that right?” Calvin seemed to agree with her on that, at least. “Is the ickle bird-boy right about that one, Timmy? Is he too late?”

He was probably waiting to trap you. Looking at him standing next to Tiggs, it seemed more than a bit likely.

“I really liked you,” she told him, wincing as her voice came out like a slow-speed car crash, then wincing again as he – and Tiggs, and Porter – took an involuntary step backwards.

“I like you, Timmy, that’s why you’re going to be mine. Quietly. Right?”

“I told you, Calvin, you’re too late. Leave her alone.” Arunde’s voice was louder and more high-pitched, and his wings were spreading to fill the hall.

“You couldn’t keep her if you tried, junior. Hand her over now and no-one gets hurt.”

Keep. Mine. Timora shook her head. “I’m not yours, Calvin.” Her voice was getting more level, but it still sounded like tortured metal. “Stop it.”

Calvin was loosing his cool. “Well, this little shit can’t keep you. How’s he going to protect you?”

That was the second time in less than an hour someone had mentioned protecting her. “Porter, Arundel,” she whispered.

Porter was quick on the uptake and covered his ears. Arundel’s hands were busy holding her, but, on the other hand, he didn’t seem nearly as bothered by her voice as everyone else.

“You’re being silly, Timmy,” Calvin said, and then she screamed.

This time, she was paying attention. Even with his ears covered, Porter was wincing, walking backwards slowly away from her. Calvin and Tiggs, who were either slow, brave, or stupid, didn’t even try to cover their ears.

“Tim-” Calvin began, over the start of her scream, which only sounded like a three-car pileup running into a flock of eagles. She pushed a little more air into it,adding a semi truck full of upset canaries to the sound crash, and Calvin and Tiggs started running. She made it louder, as loud as she could go, and Porter tripped over his feet backing up, falling on his tail.

Arundel stood there, holding her, seeming hardly fazed at all.

She caught her breath and stopped, smiling at him, then a little more apologetically at Porter. “It really does work.”

“It does,” Porter agreed shakily. “Your speaking voice is still pretty…”

“Oh, yeah.” She clapped her hands over her mouth, abashed.

“It’s okay,” the tiger-man assured her. “Come on, buddy, let’s get her into the doctor’s. Do you think it’s your power, that’s why she doesn’t make you run?”

“I guess?” Having the person carrying you shrug was, Timora discovered, a rather strange sensation. Sort of like a very mellow roller-coaster. He looked down at her thoughtfully. “Everyone has a power,” he informed her. “Porter can make doors. Anywhere. It’s pretty awesome. Me? I’m fearless.”

She made a noise that she hoped was encouraging, and he grinned at her even more widely. “And you’re really pretty. Here, Doctor’s office. I think you’re fine, though. It’s not a bad Change.”

The nurse shooed them into an exam room, all three of them, although Porter stayed near the door, as if guarding their escape. Once in there, Arundel picked up as if he hadn’t stopped, not seeming to mind the one-sided conversation. “So yours seems to be… sort of…”

“Kelpie?” Porter offered. “Kelpie meets a banshee.”

Dr. Caitrin walking in stopped all speculation. “The tapes are very interesting. It’s going to take a while to get control of that, I think, Timora, so I’d ask you to be careful with your voice until then, all right? In the meantime…” She laid her hands on Timora’s ankles and began muttering under her breath. “Interesting.”

“Interesting?” Arundel asked. “I see hooves. And a tail, right?”

“Unsurprising, considering her ancestry. Yes. Yes. This is going to be an interesting Change, and I don’t believe it’s over yet. Are you Keeping her?”

“Ah. We need to talk about that.”

“Keeping?” Timora whispered. “Calvin…”

“Yeah,” Arundel muttered. “I’m not him.”

“Hrmph. Well, Timora, take these two pills. If you are in pain in the morning, come see me. In the meantime…” the doctor looked thoughtful. “I don’t normally suggest Keepings, but, if he thinks he can hack it, and you’re willing, Timora, considering your peculiar power, I’d consider Arundel.” She pressed the small blue pills into Timora’s hand and, on that very odd note, left, Porter following discretely behind her.

“Well.” The eagle-boy flared his wings uncomfortably. “I don’t want to pressure you into anything, I really don’t. But I was gonna offer…”

She looked up at him uncertainly. “If you’re the only person I can talk to without them running away…” she whispered.

“There is that, but that seems like a lousy reason to Keep someone. ‘Here, be Mine so you have someone to talk to.’” He shrugged again. “I’ve been watching you, and I like you.”

“You make it sound like stalking.” It was nice to be able to speak again without someone flinching. Then again, he’d started looking nervous.

“Well,” he squirmed, “kind of? I mean, everyone kind of stalks the new students around here. I guess I got stalked last year?”

Oh, he looked nervous because he was nervous, not because of her voice. Nervous of her? “Why are you all squirmy?” Lovely, she winced; that was exactly the way to get a guy to like her.

“Well, I don’t want you to think I’m a creep like Calvin. I mean, I guess I deserve it.”

“Did you set me up to get terrified and dragged around and what-have-you, Kepted?” she countered. Calvin had done that. Calvin who had seemed so nice. Arundel seemed nice, too.

“No? I mean, I just kind of tried to be where I thought he’d set you up, so I could rescue you. Well, Porter got there first…”

“Okay, that’s a little creepy,” she agreed. But… “Why?”

He folded his wings up uncertainly, hiding his head. “Because I like you.”

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Down in the Dark, a story of faeApoc-postapoc for the Giraffe Call @clarekrmiller

For [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt

Fae Apoc has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

We knew it was coming before it came.

That wasn’t prescience; ask anyone and they’ll tell you we have no fae in our group. Just a bunch of kids.

But our city was one of the last to get hit. I guess nobody wanted to claim to be god of Detroit (To be honest, this is what told me they weren’t like, real gods, or American-Gods gods. Detroit has deities. Ask anyone). So by the time the false gods started showing up, we all knew what was going to happen, and we were at least somewhat prepared.

Anyone who had a place to go, who could afford it, who had a way to leave, they’d already left. That left us. We couldn’t leave, our stupid rental was right in the monster’s path, and even if we had cars or bus fare, we had no-where to go.

On the other hand, we knew the stinking underbelly of this city like nobody’s business. So we packed up everything we could afford, and, when the faker gods finally showed up in Detroit, we went down. Into the sewers. Down into the forgotten passageways. Into the place where there had almost been a subway. Into the tunnels.

And there we have remained ever… okay, I can’t keep up the melodrama anymore. Yeah, we live down here. Not in the sewer proper, no. I mean, shit still rolls downhill, and people up there, what few there are left, still use their toilets. No, we’re over here, in what used to be a maintenance tunnel. We come up and scrounge in the daylight, and then, when the monsters are out, we come back down here.

It’s not much of a life, I’ll admit, but it’s a life, and it’s getting better every year. And we survived, which is more than anyone said we would, even before the war.

Not bad for a bunch of drop-outs and burn-outs, eh?

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