Archive | February 15, 2012

So Many Stories! What do you want a continuation of?

Behind the cut is a list of every story I have written so far for this Giraffe Call (January).

Rather than try to put them ALL on a poll, I’m going to ask you, first: which of these would you like to see continued? Then I will put all those on a poll 🙂

One-offs
First Steps (LJ) The city remembers
The Dark Places, the Numbered Streets (LJ) – Ance seeks a real adventure. And finds it.
Recovering the City (LJ)
The Tuesday Map (LJ) Life in the BAELZ.
Souvenir (LJ) A little something from every city
Birth of a City (LJ) It started with asteroid miners…
Breaking Ground (LJ)
…On My Parade (LJ)
Down in Human Town (LJ)
Kirkevaren (LJ)
And Before That? (LJ)
Backstage (LJ), technically Big Trouble in Little China fanfic
The Snow War (LJ)

Fairy Town
Strange Neighbors (LJ) [After the Fairy Road (here on LJ)]
Loaves (LJ)
The Beggars (LJ)
City Holiday (DW)
Re-Blessing the Church (LJ)
Burning Summer Quest (LJ)
In Mr. Ting’s (LJ)
Mrs. Gent’s Lemonade (LJ)
Differences of Opinion (LJ)
The “A” Shelves (LJ)
Katydid’s Camp (and on LJ)

The Cracks
Through the Cracks (LJ)
“China is Here” (LJ)
The Dark of the City (Lj)
Up From the Cracks (LJ)

Unicorn/Factory
Unicorn Chase (LJ)
The Silver Road (LJ)

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

Facets
Underneath (LJ) [Josie]
On the Subway

Shadow Rebellion
Evoloution (LJ)

Planners
a Growing Plan (LJ)

Vas
Further Exploration Reveals… (LJ)
“I said, Further Exploration reVEALS,” (LJ)

Bug Invasion
From the moment they breathed our air (Lj) after: Staying in the City (LJ) and Spooks vs. Bugs (DW)
It’s all in your Head (LJ)

Reiassan
Road Map To… (LJ), a story of Steam!Callenia
Stories of the City (LJ)

Stranded
Lines of the City (LJ)
Laying the Foundation (LJ)

Tir na Cali
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) ()
Tea with HER (continuation 5) (LJ)
Tea with HER (Completion) (LJ)
Window Shopping (LJ)
(Catpeople)
Down in Kitty Town (LJ)

Aunt Family
Midnight, Summer Solstice (LJ)

Fae Apoc
Scrounging for History (LJ)
Digging through History (LJ)
Delving in History (LJ)
Bringing Home History (LJ)
Singing down History (LJ)
Learning of History (LJ

Down in the Dark (LJ)
When the Gods Attacked (LJ)
Ending the Hunt (Lj)
In the Jam (LJ)
On the River (LJ)
These Walls Can Talk (LJ)
On the River (LJ
Step on my Tail (LJ)

Addergoole
Family Legacy (Dreamwidth)
When the Gods Attacked

Edited to add: that’s 55 separate stories, counting continuations as part of the original. And I’m not DONE with the January call yet!

And More Stories:
Addergoole
Mission to Paris (LJ)
Presented (LJ)
Paying the Rent (LJ) (Baram’s Jaelie and her Wish)
Fae Apoc:
Getting Over History (LJ)
Making New History (LJ)
Trusting in History (LJ)
Bug Invasion
Poison (LJ)

Fairy Town
Meeting Mr. Ting (LJ)
About the Want (LJ)
What You Need (LJ)
Guarding the Church (LJ)
Unicorn/Factory
Productive (LJ)
The Governors (LJ)
Right and Wrong (LJ)

(second edit. Added more stories, recounted, seems I was off by 10 last time)

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Laying the Foundation

For [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt.

Stranded World has a landing page here.
🔨
“I think you should come hang out next weekend,” Calgary told Autumn, over the last beer of the last day of Faire. “Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur are building a house.”

“Seriously?” she raised an eyebrow. She was far too drunk to be polite when faced with that.

Calgary grinned, and quaffed her beer. “Three friends of mine, been together since college. Not Faire folk but fair folk, if you know what I mean. And they’re house-raising.”

“Sounds like fun.” She set her mug down with exaggerated care. “I’ll be there.”

“I know you will,” Calgary grinned. “And you’ll love it.”

The location was as out in the middle of nowhere as it was still possible to get in a northern state, a two-acre lot in the middle of two hundred acres of field and half-wild forest. And it was a mess, a mass of machines and parts-of-buildings and everywhere people, people in a cacophonous of color and personality, like the Ren Fair only a hundred times louder.

And there was Calgary, at the center of it, waving Autumn down. “Come on! Huey, Dewey, and Louie want to meet you! I’ve told them so much about you!”

And that was a danger line, but Autumn was in a good mood, so she smiled, and let Calgary lead her to what looked like it would be the front door.

“Caetlyn, Gemini, Xavier, this is Autumn. Autumn, this is Larry, Curly, and Mo.” Calgary cheerfully introduced her to a buxom blonde in a pink flannel shirt, an androgynous person wearing a yellow t-shirt, and a tall man, head shaved, wearing a blue polo.

“Pleased to meet you,” Caetlyn smiled. “Calgary told us that you might be able to bless our threshold? You know, in the weaving way?”

Smiling and nodding, Autumn resolved to have a word with Calgary later.

“This would be easier if I had my brother with me. He’s very good at the orderly things. But I can lay down a foundation for you, and I’m pretty good with a hammer and a trowel, too,” she smiled. “Do you mind if I paint a little, where it won’t show?”

“Heck,” Xavier grinned, “we’d love it if you’d paint where it would.”

“See?” Calgary was unrepentant. “Flora, Fauna, and Meriwether are good people.”

“I see they are,” Autumn agreed sincerely.

She’d come prepared to help hammer nails and wrestle building materials, but it seemed the trio had enough people for that. So she settled in what would be a doorway, and began to weave and twist the strands.

She laid down a solid foundation of welcome and kinship, pulling from everyone who was here, every bit of love they poured into the building, and making it a tangible, knowable thing: this house was built with love. Enter it with love as well.

While she watched them place two stained glass windows, she painted a design that would be hidden by the doorjamb, a secret series of imps: Don’t forget the humor. Come here with a smile.

They put up an interior wall, and she got to work on the art that would show while, behind her, three people carefully installed a hidden door and three hidden compartments. Into her mural, a tree reaching for the sun, with three trunks woven together, she added: respect one another’s secrets, and keep them.

Tired at the end of the day, and drinking a beer with the trio and Calgary, she sketched them a doodle: Chance encounters are the best sort. Smiling, she bid them a good night, and kissed their doorway in benediction as she left.

🔨

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Week Summary, with Signal Boosts

[personal profile] anke is holding a fishbowl! The theme is “Law and Order!” Go prompt her!
[personal profile] meeks posted her adorable pictures from the most recent SketchFest!
[personal profile] moonvoice has posted some gorgeous totem art!

Betas: Lair (LJ could use a look-over, pls.

[personal profile] smw wrote this absolutely awesome fic, “The Dream of Agathopia”
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith posted here Fishbowl Report for the most recent fishbowl. She also posted this adorable poem yesterday! And this discussion on writing alternate history.
Djinni drew himself some icons, for once! Yay! 🙂

And my writing over the last week:

Giraffe Call (Yes, still January’s!):
One-offs:
The Snow War (LJ)

Stranded:
Lines of the City (LJ)

Fae Apoc:
Ending the Hunt (Lj)
Singing down History (LJ)
Learning of History (LJ
In the Jam (LJ)
On the River (LJ)
These Walls Can Talk (LJ)
On the RIver (LJ

Fairy Town:
Mrs. Gent’s Lemonade (LJ)
Differences of Opinion (LJ)

Dragons:
Exterminator (LJ)

Bug Invasion:
It’s all in your Head (LJ)

Unicorn:
The Silver Road (LJ)

Aunt Family
Midnight, Summer Solstice (LJ)

Cracks:
Up From the Cracks (LJ)

Non-Giraffe:

Non-Giraffe:
Two Vignettes of Cya (LJ)
AgYr9
All you Can Be (LJ) Ahouva
Prickly (LJ) Sylvia/Gar
In the Infirmary (LJ)
Porter Needs a Girlfriend (LJ) Arundel/Timora
Fae Apoc:
Exit Strategy (LJ) [Donor Perk]
Vas:
By the Wall (LJ [Donor Perk]

Aunt Mini-Giraffe Call:
Kitten Negotiations (did not xpost)
Unexpected Guest (LJ)
That Damn Cat (LJ)

Whew! All that writing tires my fingers out! And you know what?
This Saturday, 2/18, is the Next Giraffe Call!
The Theme is Wine and/or Roses!

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/269585.html. You can comment here or there.

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That Damn Cat, a story of the Aunt Family for the Mini-call

For rix_scaedu‘s commissioned prompt.

Aunt Family has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ


Zenobia didn’t give the cat a name, but she did leave a bowl of cream out for him every morning, and a bit of her dinner meat every evening.

Her Aunt Beulah had left her the cat, along with the property and the title, when she vanished into the mist one late-November evening. He was, at that point, already an elderly cat, if family memory held, but, in this case, family memory, generally a very reliable thing, seemed to falter.

That was to say, that while family memory seemed to agree that the cat had been around for quite a while, it seemed to falter horribly, no matter which particular family member one was talking to, if pressed on the details. When had Beulah gotten the cat? Well, she’d gotten it from her Aunt Mary.

That cats did not live that long did not seem to faze anyone.

What was more, in looking at Beulah’s writings, she had, indeed, inherited a cat – several, as a matter of fact, none of them a Siamese tom. And while she had bemoaned the cats all over the place for the first several months, she had then started talking about Aristarchus, as she called her cat, as if she had had him all along.

Digging into Mary’s writings was trickier, the handwriting crabbed, the language a bit archaic and speckled with German and French for no apparent reason, but she, too, seemed to have had cats, too many cats, so many that Beulah’s notes on taking over the house and the title involved weeks of cleaning up after cats. Mary didn’t mention any specific cat by name, but there were occasionally mentions of That Damn Cat, which could, given the cat’s personality, be considered a name.

What Zenobia could determine from family journals, family gossip, and confused mutters was that Mary had been one of the batty aunts, one of the ones that was considered dangerous. Since Zenobia herself was considered dangerous, she took that with a grain of salt.

When she found That Damn Cat urinating on Mary’s journal, however, she took it as a suggestion perhaps she should stop researching his past. She gave him his cream and his dinner, and he kept the mice down and, from time to time, he gave her advice on her more complicated goings-on.

And, she soon discovered, he liked to spy, not only on her, which was irritating, but on the entire family, which was very illuminating. It seemed he had a way to get into just about anywhere, and, as a cat, he could observe on just about anything without cause for comment. Soon he was bringing Zenobia reports on the rest of her family.

Much of it was benign things, gossip and backstabbing and affairs, petty stuff that any family had. Some of it was strange but not deadly, tricks being performed on the sly, a card reading, an enchantment, stuff that was supposed to be the purview of the Aunt of the year.

And one of the tales the cat brought her saved her life.

Next: Bless the Cat (LJ)

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Up from the Cracks, a story of The Cracks for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] the_vulture‘s commissioned prompt.

In the same world as:
Through the Cracks (LJ)
“China is Here” (LJ)
The Dark of the City (Lj)

Content warning: there’s some atypical thinking and suggestions of prior abuse going on.

I woke like a dream from the dark, slipping out of the cracks in the sidewalk, slipping out of the holes in the world. I stepped out into the daylight world when she failed to pay attention, she who had been so dismissive of myths and dreams.

(Of course I know – well, think – assume, at least – where she went. That doesn’t mean I have to tell you, now does it? The wonderful thing about what I am. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to!

(Err, except the geasa, but don’t pay any mind to that. You don’t need to know about those!)

THE POINT BEING, I stepped out, and she vanished. *Poof* And, because this is what being a Changeling is, being a crack-dweller, a troll (so maligned!) a Fair Folk (Much better)… I took over where she’d left off. Because that is what you do, when you are the things that live between the cracks in the world.

Cue ominous music.

No, really, I’m a sweetie. I’m not going to eat your face or anything. I just wanted to be out in the world, not cramped in a nether dimension. I just wanted my own chance to shine.

(If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Goat-free. Shit, was that out loud).

You keep side-tracking me. Keep that up and I’m going to eat your face, and then what will you listen with, mister?

Sweet and innocent. Sweet as sugar and pure as the driven snow, that’s me. Or, at least, that was Her.

They teach you, when you’re waiting for an Other to step through a crack, what you’re supposed to do and not do. What you’re supposed to say and not say. The lines to walk.

They teach you how to be a good little Changeling, because their goal is to get as many out as possible. If you make a fuss, you might bring the attention down of Those Who Watch, and then bam, they come patching the cracks and it’s forever before we can get anyone else out again. And we don’t want that, do we, miss wants-to-play? No we don’t, Papa. We’re not our mother. We’ll be good.

You get really good at saying the right lines, down there.

And, well, I wanted to stay out, and I knew what Those Who Watch do when they catch a changeling before they’re all the way anchored in, so I listened to what I was taught. I didn’t just slip into her skin, I became her. Every twitch, every glitch, every issue, every freaking volume (and she had a few, let me tell you).

And then, slowly, I… improved her. I smoothed out a rough edge here. I sanded down a splotchy spot there. Her complexion got better, she stopped twitching randomly. She began to speak in sentences of more than three words. She got a raise.

Her life had been constrained by rules she didn’t even understand, but what am I but the breaker of rules? Slowly, I touched up the edges of her life, fixed her hair, introduced us to a nice guy. Slowly, I sanded off the bits that made her uniquely Susan, and made her, instead, uniquely me.

And everything was going beautifully! The way we do things now isn’t the way they used to do it, shoving yourself into the body and psyche of a human, sharing living space, as it was. That has all sorts of negative side effects, the worst of which the riders going crazy, getting kicked out, or both at once. A rider without a body ends up shoving themselves into the nearest possible vessel – you end up with a lot of “charmed” items that way that were actually accidentally possessed, the poor spirit stuck until that item (stone statues are the worst) “died;” disintegrating completely.

And a rider who’s crazy brings Those Who Watch down on all of us, and, perhaps harsher, makes the world look. And there are things we don’t want the world looking at, any more than Those Who Watch do.

And there you got me sidetracked again. Stop that!

The way we do things now, that’s what I was talking about. As opposed to the old way, that nobody liked, including the hosts.

Now, I’m not really sure the hosts like it – they don’t act too nice when they’re pulled Under, but the cracks can warp you a bit – but it works a lot better for the riders. For me, in specific. The host, all of her, goes Under, and the Changeling, with a copy of her body and her memories, pops out Over.

This is important! This is important in my case, because, while I started out with a copy of Susan’s memory and body, as far as I knew, I didn’t start out with any actual Susan. Nada. Nyett. She was Below, doing whatever the stolen ones do. Crying, probably, and rocking back and forth. She seemed really good at crying and rocking back and forth.

The real problem was, I was getting good at it too. Not on purpose! I was doing my damndest to step out of those obnoxious patterns, trying to make my dull, dull host into someone entertaining to be. And I’d been working all those rough edges off.

But they kept coming back! I’d spend weeks slowly getting her – me – to used longer sentences, and then one of those borrowed memories would pop up, and there I was hiding in the closet, terrified the boojum was going to get me.

Something had to be done. And quick, because I couldn’t afford to go crazy. If I went crazy, well, we covered that. Those Who Watch, yadda, yadda, and then the people back Below would rip me to shreds, and I would never get out again.

Ever heard of a Changeling in therapy? The thought was laughable. “So, doc, I have these memories, but they’re not really mine, even though I’m living the life of the person whose memories they are.” I’d get “help,” all right, but not for the problem I actually had.

So I tried to muscle on through. It was just some memories, right? Just some memories, and some twitches, and a few superstitions that seemed to make everything worse if I ignored them. It was just some memories, a couple twitches, some superstitions, and a growing fear of going outside after dark.

Just the memories, the twitches, the superstitions, the fear of the dark, and the urge to run away from any man with a handlebar mustache.

Just memories, twitches, superstitions, fears, urges to run, and a habit of counting everything I ate.

Just memories, twitches, superstitions, fears, urges, habits, and a rising desire to set places on fire that I could barely recognize, places that spurred a fragment of a memory that, it seemed, Susan had repressed very deeply, places that made my skin crawl.

When I came to myself standing in front of a bar muttering the words to a fire spell, I decided that muscling through wasn’t going to work anymore. This body was clearly defective. I had to go back through the cracks. I had to make Susan take her body back.

Getting through the crack in that direction isn’t hard. It’s not even a challenge if you came from there, which I did, barely, remember I had.

Finding my other self was a bit trickier, but magic works so much more nicely down there. I had to hurry, was the problem. Those Who Watch notice holes in the world, like there being no Susan at all out there. We didn’t want them, clearly, to notice that.

And when I found her – cleaned up, pretty, in a field with unicorns, dangling her feet in the brook – do you know what she said? Of course you do, don’t you? She said no.

“Take it back,” I told her. “Go back to your life, I don’t want it anymore.”

“No.” She smiled like it was the nicest thing in the world she’d just said, instead of the end of mine. “No, I don’t want to.”

“You have to. You have to go back, please.” I shook her a little, I think. Neither of us liked the contact, so I stopped. “The voices, the nightmares… how did you manage not to burn the city down? You have to take it all back!”

“No,” she said again, and, still smiling, “you’d better leave. But when you go back – don’t worry so much.” She patted my shoulder. “You just have to remember to follow the rules, and everything comes out better.”

So I went back, back to her life, and the memories, and the twitches, and the interminable rules. And I found you, because I hear you’re good at this sort of thing.

I need to burn down a few buildings. And I need it untraceable.

Maybe then, the memories will let me live.

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