Briars & Vinegar: Eating the Roses, a story of fae-apoc post apoc for the Giraffe Call (@rix_Scaedu)

For Rix_Scaedu‘s prompt, combined with [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s prompt.

Fae Apoc has a landing page here.

Briars and Vinegar (LJ)
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Briars and Vinegar: For 100 Years (LJ)
Briars and Vinegar: Sharp and Bitter (LJ)

Something kept eating the rosebushes.

This was startling enough on its own – roses weren’t the most palatable thing in the world, and Vin’s roses had thorns the size of small daggers.

But, since Darrel had moved into her cabin, and Keri and Clarence had built their own nearby, since Dame Elena had, herself, come to shelter inside Vin’s large hedge of roses, there was hawthorn planted alongside the rosebushes, twisted in with them, its sharp prickers providing a second layer of defense. And hawthorn was even less palatable than roses.

(Dame Elena, who had been Old Dame Elena as long as anyone could remember, had turned out to have a surprising wealth of information about the old fae. That had made Vin give her a sharp look and pull the old lady aside for a few whispered conversations.

Clarence tried not to mind. It was clear that Vin knew quite a bit she wasn’t sharing, and he didn’t blame her, usually. The war had hurt her quite badly, he thought, blamed for things she could neither have done nor stopped.

But when something started eating the roses and the hawthorn, and Elena and Vin went back into whispered conversations, Clarence had had enough. He pulled the two women aside – gently, very gently, but still.

“Look, you need to tell me what’s going on. Kari and I live here too, you know.”

“And I welcomed you, but you don’t need to stay,” she snapped. Dame Elena’s hand on her arm stopped her, and she sighed.

“There aren’t many things that will eat roses like this, and most of them aren’t natural; they’re constructs of the war or leftover monsters from Ellehem – from faerie-home,” she translated. “And I’ve never encountered anything unnatural that could stomach hawthorn.”

“But I have,” Elena put in. “Not a faerie creature as such, but something they made from creatures already here. Mouth like a meat grinder, could eat anything. Did eat anything. And everyone.”

She frowned at the chewed-upon bushes. “We called it the omnivore.”

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