Briars and Vinegar, a story of fae-apoc post apoc for the Giraffe Call

For [personal profile] ariestess‘s prompt, although title from Rix_scaedu‘s prompt.

Part one of either 3 or 4, we shall see.

Fae Apoc has a landing page here.

Names from here


The world had fallen into chaos two hundred years ago, although the exact year was unclear. Record-keeping was not as precise as it had once been, and the exact year that the old world ended had been, it seemed, in some debate at the time.

The remaining population had gathered together in small communities and, from there, rebuilt a world, a much smaller world than their ancestors had known. Large portions of the world were simply left alone, either unsafe in and of themselves, or too far from a population center to be safely or easily traveled to.

Slowly, the world rebuilt. And slowly, as towns grew back into cities, people began to explore the lands they had left abandoned.

Clarence slogged through the early-season snow on unfamiliar snowshoes, muttering quietly at the sudden and unexpected fall that obscured trail and hazards alike.

“The map,” Jeri offered, “says there should be a road here.”

“The map,” Darrel countered, “is a million years old. The road is probably long gone.”

“The old roads don’t just vanish,” she countered stubbornly. “Besides, an old map is better than no map.”

“Unless there’s a dragon around here that’s not on there.”

“There’s no such thing as dragons.”

“Guys.” Clarence hissed out the word. “Guys, shut up for a minute.”

This wasn’t their first exploration, even if they were acting like kids – it was the snow, it brought out the five-year-old in all of them – so both of them fell quiet at his tone.

Once it was clear that nothing was immediately going to attack them, they moved forward, to see what he was looking at.

“Is that a rose?” Darrel whispered. “How is it…”

“I have no idea. Maybe the snow took it by surprise, too?” In the middle of a drift that Clarence’s walking stick said was at least a meter deep, a single red rosebud stood out like a blood drop. “It looks unreal.”

“Do you think there are more?” Darrel began digging in the snow, pushing aside the drift. “Or maybe an old wall, or some sign of something other than this endless nothing?”

“There could be a whole town under the snow,” Jeri put in, but she, too, was digging. “Or a road.”

“You and your… ow!” Darrel yanked his hand back, the blood drip clear on his wool mitten. “Blasted ruins, there’s something down there.”

“Roses have thorns,” Clarence offered helpfully. “Guys, it’s starting to snow again. We should get back to that building we saw.”

“If by ‘building,’ you mean ‘two walls?'” Jeri shook her head. “Look, just over the edge of the drift – there’s a chimney. It’s closer, at least.” The wind was beginning to pick up again, whipping snow back into the hole they’d been digging, whipping it away from the rose. “We should be able to make it there before dark.”

Part two: Briars and Vinegar: Blood on the Snow (LJ)

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