Archive | February 1, 2012

Backstage, a story for the Giraffe Call

Inspired by the_vulture‘s prompt

And there this Lo Pan guy is, flying around like some batshit giant pixie, cutting everyone to shreds, and here’s this redneck cowboy blasting around, this Egg guy fighting Lo Pan like they’re The Last True Mages (who I damn well know died two hundred years ago), pretty girls with green eyes being zombified, mooks and minions flying and bleeding and making a mess of this gorgeous temple, well, never mind that it was a temple to Lo Pan’s Lo Panniness.

And there was me. Green-eyed, sure. But nobody looks twice at the tiny little elf girl when there are these big old hooman girls around to marry and zombify and rescue and what have you. And nobody looks twice at what’s happening behind the curtain, do they, because they’re not supposed to. They’re supposed to see the muss and fuss up on stage and ignore those of us back here.

And ignored and back-here and happily hidden, there we were, making sure this one ended the way it was supposed to. Like we do, pulling the strings, making the stories. Telling the stories to themselves, my grandma called it. Telling the road where it goes.

And of course the big lunk messed it up, but that’s all right. We had another story for him. And oh, boy, was that one a doozy!!

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In Mr. Ting’s

For @inventrix’s commissioned continuation of Burning Summer Quest (LJ); Part 1 of ?

“Mr. Ting knows what you need.”

I’m not sure what I was expecting. Okay, no, I know what I was expecting – Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid, or Egg Shen from Big Trouble in Little China, or Lu-Tze from Thief of Time. In short, I expected a sterotype.

I know better. But it was really, really hot, and my brain was frying like an egg.

So into Mr. Ting’s we went, feeling a little jittery, a lot sweaty, and a tiny bit hopeful. If he didn’t have what we needed (despite the sign), well, we were down to leaving the fridge open or buying ice in giant bags. Or dousing everyone in water every four minutes. I didn’t think the cats would like that.

The store windows had been covered over with paper, so walking in, we were going in blind, accompanied by the sound of loudly jangling windchimes hitting the back of the door. Jordan headed in first; I took up the rear, nervously-if-ridiculously checking to see if we were observed. We weren’t; nobody else was dumb enough to be out in weather like this.

So at first, all I could see of the store was Jordan’s paused, tense shoulderblades sticking to the thinnest T-shirt possible. I wondered if we were going to have to make a hasty escape, and grabbed the door handle in preparation. I wondered if someone was going to shoot at us. Like I said, my brain was fried and I was feeling rather silly.

Then I noticed that the store was comfortable. Not freezing, like a lot of stores, but a nice pleasant temperature, just cool enough that we weren’t dying. And Jordan still wasn’t moving. We were getting to the shoving stage.

“Come in, come in, kiddos, let me pour you some lemonade. Take a load off your feet.” That was, I presumed, not Mr. Ting. For one, the accent was local. For another, the voice was female, or, at the very least, in a traditionally female register.

“What…” Jordan finally managed, and stumbled forward one step. Not enough for me to do much except look at the floor, which was blue-and-white tiled and prettier than anything else in the neighborhood except, possibly, one of our roommates. But Taylor was a special case. “What…” again. Broken record time; I gave a little shove.

“It’s all right, kids, I know, it’s hotter than hell outside and you’re got to be dehydrated. Here, have a skirt, dear, and here’s a vest for your friend, and there you go.” She bustled around Jordan, and then me, playing dress-up like we were dolls, and I finally got a look at her.

She was maybe late-fifties or a very nicely preserved late-sixties, her hair dyed improbably red, her eyes almost black. She had a lean figure not in keeping with that mother-of-the-world voice, and a lipstick smile the same unbelievable color as her hair. She caught me looking, and winked.

“Mr. Ting is out for a moment, so you two just have a seat, have some lemonade, and wait,” she insisted.

Continued: Mrs. Gent’s Lemonade (LJ)

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Cleaning Up, More of the Story of Addergoole Post-Apoc (@inventrix @cluudle)

After: Separation Anxiety (<a
href=””>LJ) Boom!/RP timeline/ Cynara
Parting Advice, and Mother Bears (<a
Mother-Son Bonding (<a
Kept du Jour/a> (<a
“Are we killing this one?” (<a
Meeting the Family (LJ) (a chat log)
Roleplay Log (Cya/Cabal, posted by cluudle); about one month after the beginning of this story.

Content warning: implied neglect-style abuse.

“Cya? Protect your Kept.”

She sighed, and headed out to the barn, the echoes of her conversation with Cabal still ringing in her ears. He was right, of course. He was usually right.

“So you show your son that you’re a Keeper who lets their Kept be-“

No. No, she had never been that sort of Keeper. Cabal knew that; he’d been her first Kept. She’d always taken care of what was hers, of who was hers. And Panlong should be no different.

”Yoshi wants him here so he can deal with him.” She had to let her son grow up, sadly, and part of that was letting him deal with Pan on his own. She couldn’t keep solving his problems forever.

“Come here.” The boy looked filthy, tired, and hungry. He’d been cleaning the stable for… hunh. Probably too long now. She knew better than that.


“Cynara,” she corrected, as he walked hesitantly over to her, his shoulders slumped. Yep, he stank. Somehow, she wasn’t surprised. She grabbed his shoulder as gently as she could force herself to be, and steered him out behind the barn.

“Cynara?” he squeaked. There was a hose around here somewhere, and a drain…

“Strip. We’ll burn those clothes if they can’t be salvaged.”

He looked like he was considering running, but none of her Kept tried that more than once. Having a Keeper who can Find you anywhere had to be a bit disheartening, she supposed. “Strip?” he repeated, even as he did so. This is not being gentle, Cya. She knew that. She also knew she was going to have to work herself up to gentle.

The slow nervous trickle of urine running down his leg suggested that perhaps she would have to work up to it more quickly. “Am… are…” he stuttered.

She picked up the hose, noting someone had left it in the sun. Good, the first spray wouldn’t be horrid then, and it was late July. “I am going to wash you off,” she told him, trying for gentle and at least managing calm. “And then I am going to take you inside and give you a proper bath, and you and I are going to have a conversation.”

“Okay?” he squeaked, uncertain whether or not to be relieved.

“And Cabal is not going to shoot you,” she added helpfully.

“Good?” he gulped, as she started the hose.

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

Meeting the Family, More of the Story of Addergoole Post-Apoc (@inventrix @cluudle)

This is actually a storified chat-log from a chat RP with @inventrix after
Separation Anxiety (LJ) Boom!/RP timeline/ Cynara
Parting Advice, and Mother Bears (LJ)
Mother-Son Bonding (LJ)
Kept du Jour (LJ)
“Are we killing this one?” (LJ)

Content warnings: implied past abuse.

“Idu Intinn” is a, um, magic spell meaning “Know Mind;” in short, surface telepathy.

By the time they reached the Ranch, Panlong was collared, nervous, and very confused-seeming, in part, Cya was sure, because Yoshi couldn’t seem to settle on a way to treat the older boy.

Leo, shirking chores, appeared next to the car as if summoned to help unload, half-Masked as he tended to in fuzzy-antler season, his ears and tail showing but not his antlers. Cya smiled at him as she got out of the car and popped the trunk; Yoshi, still Masked, and Panlong, still un-Masked, followed her out of the car, looking various shades of unhappy.

Leo stopped dead in his tracks, and Cya’s heart sank. She’d expected some reaction, once she told the crew. Not on sight. She did this every year – didn’t she?

Leo glanced between Pan and Cya, looking super-suspicious. “Who’s this?”

“Leofric sa’Lightning-Blade this is Panlong oro’Cynara,” she introduced them formally. “Pan, Leo.” At some point, she’d need to learn the Name Pan had earned. Not today.
Leo, still watching Panlong warily, inclined his head in a brief greeting. He then, pointedly, said nothing to him, instead turning to Yoshi as they unloaded the car. “So, how’d it go?”

Panlong was clearly fighting his instincts with his terror and common sense, and did not turn his back on this bigger buck as he moved as Cya directed. She kept both eyes on him and muttered a quick Idu Intinn, just enough to let her follow the conversation from beyond normal earshot, reading the conversation from Yoshi’s ears and eyes.

“It went,” Yoshi answered carefully.

“…I see.” Leofric was clearly not pleased with this answer, but didn’t press the issue. Instead, he made a tense gesture at Pan. “Friend of yours?”

“He was in a crew with my Keeper,” he answered slowly. “I thought Mom might like him.”

Oh.” Leo managed to put enough hostility into that one syllable to level a small country. “Well. It looks like you were right.” The boy is still here, after all. For the moment.

Yoshi winced a little bit. “Mom probably wouldn’t like it if you did permanent damage to him,” he muttered sotto voce

Cya was conveniently in line of sight, still, but not in earshot. Panlong, on the other hand, hovering between her and Yoshi, could hear just fine. She noted the way he flinched forward and deemed it an acceptable level of twitchiness. He deserved some nerves for what he’d done to her son.

“Only permanent?” Leo kept his voice down to the same level and looks up at the kid, grinning. “That’s easy.”

Yoshi shook his head. “I know why I don’t like him. Why don’t you?” This time, it was quieter, quiet enough that a slowly-sidling-away Pan could only hear that SOMETHING is being said.

Cya was glad for the Idu, wanting to know the answer. She moved closer to Pan, to put a hand on his shoulder, and pointed out where he needed to put things – Yoshi’s things in his room, Pan’s things…

“Hunh. Hallway closet for now.” She was not going to be sharing room or bedspace with this one. Certainly not right away.

Outside, Leo considered the question thoughtfully. “It’s complicated,” he finally settled on.

Oh, good, Leo. Complicated. Cya sighed again. This was going to get messy.

And then Yoshi made it messier. “I’m all for more reasons to hate him. Is it ’cause he kinda looks like you? I mean… Mom’s brought home your half-brothers before.” Yes, dear. About fifty percent of the time. Or nephews, or great-nephews.

Leofric tensed and shot Yoshi a sharp glance. “Why did you think Cya would like him?”

There was a pause while her son considered her answer. Cya studied the boy, antlers, blonde hair, that chin she knew so well, while waiting. He shoved his suitcases in the hall closet, and looked out at the car like it was a war zone.

“She has a type.” Two types, thank you. Possibly three. “And, well, I wanted to fuck with him. Getting him under Mom’s collar seemed a good way to kill two birds with one stone.”

Cya chuckled, and then had to make it a cough.

“Go on,” she snapped at Panlong. “Keep moving.”

Leo’s fingers twitched in a barely-repressed reflex. “What did he–” He cut himself off mid-sentence and exhaled loudly. “If you feel like talking about it…”

Listening, Cya felt her glare at the boy deepening. What did he do, indeed.

Yoshi’s breaths were getting shakey. “Not yet. Thanks, Uncle Leo.” He smiled uncertainly. “Pan wasn’t the worst of it, but Mom doesn’t ever Keep girls.”

Oh. Oh. Some bitch was going to die a messy, bloody death. A slow one. Pan, seeing the look on her face, backed up slowly towards the closet.

Leofric looked like he was going to say something, then just smiled crookedly. “No, she doesn’t.”

Oh, dear. Cya wished, momentarily, for a deeper Idu, but she wouldn’t do that without his permission.

Yoshi’s face twisted in worry. “Uncle Leo…?” he asked nervously.

“It’s okay.” His smile looked a bit forced and uncertain to Yoshi’s eyes, like he wasn’t sure it was the right response. “You talked to your mom about it, yet?”

Hardly. She frowned, and resisted the urge to shove the boy in the closet.

“A little. I mean, Pan was in the car, so there was only so much. And… she’s my mom,” he adds uncertainly. “She sounds like she gets it, but can she, really?” He sounds like he’s not sure he wants to know.

Oh, son. She bit her lip and went for the next load of luggage.

“Yes.” It was a very definite yes. “She does.”

“I’m not sure I want to think about how Mom knows that sort of thing.” Yoshi squirmed uncomfortably; listening in, Cya did, too. “She said you might… get it?”

Leofric glanced away, looking conflicted. “…I might. If…” He trails off. “Whenever you want to talk about it, I’ll… try.” It was time to break this conversation up. She grabbed Panlong and steered him towards the others with another chest.

She paused by the pair, son and beloved, meeting Leo’s eye. He gave her a twisted half-smile, almost apologetic, then gave himself a shake and inhaled deeply, exhaled slowly. With that, he was back to normal-for-Leo. He smiled at her again, a real smile but with an edge. “How’s the new boy doing?”

“Terrified. Rightfully.” She kept looking at him for a moment. “Don’t kill him, Leo.” It was almost a request, almost a plea. And then she couldn’t stand it anymore, and hugged him, tightly, fiercely.

He hesitated, then hugged her back carefully “I won’t kill him.” And, as an afterthought; “I won’t let Zita kill him, either.”

“Thank you, Leo.” She pretended not to notice the death look he sent the boy, and added, instead, “if I thought he was un-redeemable, he never would have survived the drive home.” And that, she made sure Panlong heard.

For a moment, Leo’s smile looked almost bitter. “I figured.”

“Are you mad at me?” she whispered, confused by the bitterness.

“What? No, of course not.” He was obviously confused by the question, so she tried to explain.

“You’re getting that way where I don’t know where you are again,” she muttered in his pointed ear.
“Where…? I’m…” He trailed off, then glanced at Yoshi and away again. “Sorry.” It was just barely audible. “But I promise, you haven’t done anything wrong, and I’m not upset with you. Okay?”
Looking at his face, she knew it was going to have to be enough right now. She nodded, and then, still up against his ear, she whispered, “I love you, Leo. I always will.”

His arms were warm around her for just a moment. “Anything else need to be brought in?”

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Stolen from [personal profile] morrigans_eve who stole it from [personal profile] hiddencait

I’m running a test to see who’s reading my posts. So, if you read this, leave me a one-word comment about your day that starts with the last letter of your LJ USERNAME. Only one word please. Then repost so I can leave a word for you. Don’t just post a word and not copy – that’s not as much fun!

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