Archive | July 18, 2012

Three Summers

For Imaginary’s prompt. Warning, the middle bit with Shad has suggestions of abuse and overuse of the word “pussy.”

Sharach, Meshach, Agatha, and Acacia are characters in Addergoole

Nine years before Addergoole Year 5

“And then we’ll head to Italy, and you’ll go to the college prep summer camp.”

“Mom, I want to go to Italy with you and Dad.” Ten-year-old Agatha frowned at her mother, not pouting: pouting was unattractive. “The camp has bugs.” And everyone was bigger than her there. Everyone was bigger than her everywhere, but it was worse at summer camp.

“Agatha, you went with us to France and Spain. We need some alone time, and you need to starting thinking about college.”

“But I don’t like it there.”

“I suggest you learn, young lady.”

Two weeks later, Agatha tucked the last of her belongings into her billet – the worst bunk, in the back of the cabin, but the other girls had gotten there first – and headed out into the well-manicured grounds. Perhaps she could find a place to hide, before the other kids got settled in.

She stopped just short of running into a tall, broad-shouldered boy. A bully-sort, but he wasn’t smiling meanly. “Hello,” she offered.

“Hi.” His smile looked real. If he liked her, everyone else would leave her alone.

“I’m Agatha.” She offered him a hand. “Do you want to be my friend?”

Eight years before Addergoole Year 5

“Come on, Shad, don’t be a pussy.” His older brother Meshach was halfway up the edge of the gorge. Shad glanced back behind him, then back up at the wall of rock. He cleared his throat, and called back.

“Come on, Neg, don’t be a pussy.” He reached out an arm for their little brother Abednego. “We’re going up the wall, there.”

“It looks awfully high, Shad.” Trust Abed to voice it, so that Shad had to think about the damn thing. He punched the little whiner in the arm.

“It’s not that high. Maybe as tall as our house. We jumped off that last year.” He wished his voice would stop squeaking. It made him sound like a pussy. Meshach’s didn’t to that.

“You broke your leg doing that.” And then their dad had broken his arm, for good measure, for being stupid enough to jump off the roof.

“Look, just shut up and let’s climb the damn thing, okay, before Meshach has to come back down and get us.” He grabbed his little brother’s arm, and hoisted him to the first ledge. “Hold on tight, and don’t let go. We can do this.”

“We can.” It killed him, sometimes, how much Abednego trusted him. But he trusted Meshach… and Meesh trusted Dad. He wasn’t sure any of it made sense.

Seven years before Addergoole Year 5

“I’ll be home by dark.” Acacia threw the lie over her shoulder as she ducked out the screen door.

“Don’t do anything wild and reckless.” It was her mother’s joke, although it had never been quite a joke.

“Nothing tooooo wild.” She grinned at the door and then took off running. She would have to hurry to be back before Mom started to worry, even if that was long after dark.

Several hours later, on top of the abandoned Terrance Building (Rumor had it, it had once been a psych warn, but too many people had died), she grinned at her friends. “We did it. Now all we have to do is get down without getting caught.”

“That might be problematic. I think I see a police car in the distance. Get down.” Geoff grabbed her neck and pulled her down under the low saftey wall; Acacia rolled and kicked him in the nuts in a move she’d been practicing for months.

As the cop circled the base of the building, 15 stories down, and Geoff rolled in pain, she grinned. “Nothing too wild.”

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In The Tower, Continued (for @dahob)

After In the Tower and In the Tower, Continued

For @Dahob’s 500-word continuation from the June Mini-Giraffe Call

Bobbie was getting bored. It wasn’t the first time he’d gotten bored, but this was the longest he could remember.

For days, the food had been boring and short, and there hadn’t been any new books or even any homework, no toys, no

games, nothing in over a week. The TV was on the fritz, which meant he had three old books, a notebook full of

drawings, and pacing. And pacing was getting really, really boring.

More than bored, though, Bobbie was starting to get worried. They’d left him high and dry a couple times before, but

never for this long. It brought home just how trapped he was, how doomed he was if his invisible captors ever forgot

he was here.

And that was making him antsy and jumpy, listening for any noise. Dinner was late. Dinner had been getting, as far as

he could tell (His clock had stopped), later and later every day. And he was getting hungrier and hungrier, bored and

impatient and nervous and jittery and…

A long scraping noise outside his tower derailed his thoughts. Bobbie ran to the balcony-window. Something, something

was happening! The noise repeated, sounding closer. Sounding like something was ripping up the side of his tower, of

his home.

He paused in the balcony entryway. Did he really want to go outside? There was something loud and bad happening out

there, and he was running right to it.

Or he could sit in his room and let things happen without him. He stuck his head out, peering cautiously around, first

to the left – nothing – then to the right.

There was a claw holding onto his tower. A claw with fingers as long as he was tall. He whipped his head around,

looking back to the right.

A giant eye stared back at him. A giant eye, attached to a giant face. A dragon face. “Aaaah!”

The door slammed shut behind him, the lock clicking loudly. He was trapped on a tiny balcony a hundred feet above the

ground, with a dragon staring at him.

“Shit, crap, darn, I need better swear words, poop, crap, shit!” He shook the door handle, but it wasn’t budging. To

the right, the claw was inching closer. To the left, the face was getting even closer to him. And the dragon’s tongue

was darting out, slinking out and licking him on the face.

Bobbie sank down to the ground, wondering if the railing around the tiny balcony would offer any protection. He was

going to die. He was going to die, and nobody’d ever come to find him.

“Delicious.” The dragon hissed it, like a snake talking. Its snout was pressed up against the balcony, its tongue

darting down to lick Bobbie again. “Go and eat, little morsel. Eat lots, and keep up your energy.”

He was going to die. He was going to… what? He peered up at the creature uncertainly. “Eat?”

“Eat. Eat, and grow strong. I will be back again.”

The dragon flew off, its wings pushing the air in waves against Bobbie’s hiding place. Behind him, the door swung


I will be back again. And it wanted him to eat more. He gulped. He had to get out of this place.

Edited to add: The funky line breaks were an accident, but I kinda like them, so I’m going to keep them

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Callenan poetry, a brief treatise, for the July Giraffe Call

This is the donation-level perk for the June Giraffe Call.

Callenan poetry falls into several different categories, but the largest division, describing all else, is spoken vs. written poetry.

Written poetry originated with the priesthood, and before them with the gods-chasers1 of the original Home Valley. The Callenian language, written, lends itself to artistic forms and decoration.

In the early days of the written word, the god-chasers would mark short prayer-poems, often calling out to longer spoken-poem works, onto the skin of the tribe’s Riders, onto the leather of their saddles, and onto the fur of their goats. As time went on, the artistic forms became more complicated; the holy texts of Callenia are written in formed poetry.2

Spoken poetry existed long before the written, and was first used to pass on stories and lessons from one generation to the next. In the style of epics, spoken poetry tends to rely heavily on repetition, rhyme, and a strong rhythm to carry mnemonic cues.

One common form of spoken poetry, dating back to the original Tribes of the Valley and continuing even into the Steam era, is called an “around;” usually consisting of seven parts, and often of seven speakers, the poem moves “around” a cycle of life, and around the seven mountains that ringed the Home Valley.

Examples of similar works in English poetry include the country song “Don’t Take the Girl3,” where a repetitive chorus means something slightly new in each verse, and the children’s rhyme “The Farmer in the Dell4,” where each verse builds on the next.

Hear now I tell you when I last went home
The Reeve5‘s oldest daughter, she danced all alone
Her lover had left her, gone off to the fight
They burned up his body and gave her his knife6.
Hear now I tell you when I last went home
The Reeve’s oldest daughter, she danced all alone

This poem continues for six more verses, detailing the soldier’s courtship of the Reeve’s oldest daughter, their eventual consummation, and the soldier’s inevitable return to the front.

The final verse calls back to the first verse:

Hear now I tell you, when you next return
To the Village I left, to the place I call home,
Dance with the daughter, hear of her plight.
They’ve burned up my body and sent home my knife
Hear now I tell you, when you next return
The Reeve’s oldest daughter will dance all alone.

1. The Callenan left the original gods when settling Reiassan. See
2. For examples see
5. A Reeve is the political and law-enforcing head of a small village or town, appointed by the Emperor
6. Bodies in wartime are burned, although bodies in peace-time are often buried in stone tombs. A soldier’s widow, lover, or parents would be given his war-blade as a memorial.

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