Archive | January 16, 2013

Strange Favors

For [personal profile] imaginaryfiend‘s commissioned continuation of A Couple Helping Hands and Littermate

That yelp. That sound. It wasn’t human, wasn’t barely alive-sounding, but she knew it. She’d know her brother anywhere. Cúmhaí peeled off the last hand holding her, and, when it wouldn’t move, started breaking fingers, fast and nasty, until the hand vanished.

“Nobody touches my brother. Nobody. Touches. My. Brother.” She could feel everyone in the room and, what was more, she could feel how much of the creature fighting her was illusion and misdirection. She dove straight for his center of mass, right there, and below there was where the Beagle had already tenderized the bastard…

She was rewarded with a long screaming yowl. “No-one hurts my brother, damn you.” She snarled it at the whole room, at the bastard growling at her and pretending she hadn’t just added injury to injury, and at the three others she could feel, even if she couldn’t see. “And I’ll kill every goddamned one of you if I have to, to prove it.”

“Never let it be said there is not some honor among the wolves, miss Pup.” The voice was nearly part of the wall, and when she tried to look in that direction, it hurt her head. “Take your brother. Nobody will stop you, as long as you go directly to Dr. Caitrin’s.”

Begley. She felt for him with her power, and found him hidden in a pool of shadow, barely breathing, not moving at all. “Beagle.” People with back injuries shouldn’t be moved. Leaving him here was not an option.

“Gods who’ve come and gone blast it all, Beagle, why are you not moving?” She was going to have to pick him up. She was going to have to carry him. “Fuck it all, Begley John, wake up.”

But he wasn’t waking up, so she picked him up, as carefully as she could. “Invisible voice?”

“I am watching your passage, Miss Pup.”

When the voice spoke, she could feel where he was. She carefully didn’t look that way.

“Where’s Dr. Caitrin’s, from here?”

The voice chuckled. Another time, that might have irritated Cúmhaí. Right now, she would take it. She could feel the others, and she had a hunch the invisible voice was holding them off. “Walk straight forward until you reach a fork. Turn left there, and the continue until the stairs. Upstairs should be clearer and more obvious.”

She’d already started walking. Manners, a voice in her head whispered. Her brother? Maybe. Once upon a time, he’d been her big brother. “Thank you, invisible voice.”

“When your brother has been tended to, Miss Pup, then you and I may have a talk. But not before.”

“You little shit. All of you little shits. I’m going to…”

“She won, Sir Thing. Let her go.”

“She didn’t win, Begley-shit cheated.”

“Defending your crew is never cheating, or your Marthin would never win anything. Let. Her Go.”

In the echoes of that conversation, Cúmhaí followed Invisible’s directions. Forward, and keep going until she got to a fork. She showed teeth every time she felt someone get near, and growled if they came within touching distance. Nobody tried to stop her. Nobody got in her way.

She wasn’t sure if that was her, truly, or the shadow she could feel following them. There were times when she felt someone get yanked away, times when she heard a hiss of “do not touch them.”

She might have to pay the piper when they were done, but she’d worry about that then. Right now, she had a Beagle to take care of.

“Damnit, Midget.”


“Damnit, Midget.” It was like being home again. Begley opened his eyes to his sister’s frowning face. They were moving, he realized, no, she was moving and he was being carried in her arms.

“Nice to see you, too.” His voice was thinner than he meant it to be. “Where are we?”

“About twenty feet from the doctor’s office. You took your sweet time waking up.”

“Sorry, I had a case of /being thrown into a wall. How did you get away?”

“She broke every finger of Mr. Thing’s hand, and then broke some more important parts.”

He knew that voice, even if he couldn’t see it. He reached for his knife, hoping it wasn’t too late.”

“Easy.” Cúmhaí squeezed him against her chest. Begley tried not to think about that too closely. She was his sister. This might be Addergoole, but…

Bigger problems right now. “Coo, this isn’t the counter, this is the fire.”

“It looks like the doctor’s office to me. Look.” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “He might take it out of me later but he’s the only reason we got past the creeps in the halls, so I’m not going to look his gift horse in its invisible mouth right now, okay?”

Later. “Shit. Coo, you didn’t agree to anything, did you?”

“I extracted no promises for my service, because I offered it unasked-for. I do have some honor, young Beagle.”

“I’m not that much younger than you, you…”

“Keep the mystery, if you would. Your sister will come looking for me soon enough. I’d appreciate there being a bit of a challenge in the looking.”

“She’s my sister. I’m not going to let you hurt her.”

His sister, looking very amused, damn her, was opening the door to the doctor’s office with her foot. “Beagle..”

“Coo, don’t call me that. Look, this is important.”

“It is.” Their invisible stalker had followed them into the doctor’s office. “Begley cy’Akinobu, I promise you these two things. First, if you respect my wish, and allow your sister to discover who I am on her own, then I will consider any debt between us for my part in her escape today to be settled.”

“You bastard, you said it was free.”

“Well, it is. But I’d appreciate if it you let me play out this little game.”

Begley sighed. “All right. I won’t tell her. But…”

“And the second half of my promise. I will not extract, nor seek to extract, through torture nor through any Working or use of magic at all, any promises or other binding words, from your sister Cúmhaí during the rest of this calendar year.”

“…” That was, Begley thought, the best he was going to get. “Why?”

“Gift horses and invisible mouths,” the voice scolded. “Suffice it to say she impressed me.”


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

Story-Didn’t-Work Bit

This was supposed to be to [personal profile] ellenmillion‘s Prompt, but it didn’t want to work. So here it is anywhere, while I think of what I actually want to write.

“…and that’s how you start a fire with a steel. Honestly, what do children learn these days?”

“These days? I don’t know.” Armona looked around their campsite. They had situated themselves in the back of a half-collapsed building, one with a corner of roof and two strong walls, two stories up from ground level. It was about as safe a vantage point as they could come up with, and a little bit of jury-rigging had gotten them shelter. “I think mostly they learn how to not die.”

Most of the work had been Thomas’ doing. Armona had grown up in the middle of the city. Living in the wilderness didn’t come naturally to her, and her skills at fire-making were about as good as her skills at hunting – that was to say, abysmal. She still wasn’t sure why Thomas was bothering with her.

“But before the Crisis, before the collapse. What did you learn about in school?”

“I dunno.” She’d been an indifferent student in most of her classes. “History. English. Math.”


“And trig, and calculus. Science stuff, home ec, tech.”

“Home ec? Tech?”

“Home economics. You know, cooking, that sort of thing.” She squatted by the fire and began rigging up a handle for the cans of Cambell’s she’d liberated. “Here, do you have a church key?”

“I have a knife.” He pried a hole in the can for her. “And heating cans over a fire? You learned that in ‘home ec?'”

“Where you from, anyway?”

“Long ago and far away. That doesn’t smell very good.”

“Neither did the deer thing you took down. This’s human food.” She twisted a coat hanger and used it to hold the can over the fire. “I always said school was useless.”

“And yet, here, you find yourself a student again.”

“Yeah, but this stuff is going to do me some good. Staying alive skills. Things I need.”


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

Transfer of Power

For [personal profile] imaginaryfiend‘s prompt.

This is Shahin & Emrys’ daughter, in her second year of Addergoole, and Jeremiah and Rowan’s son, in his first year.

“All right.”

This had seemed like a clever idea when she’d implemented it. Her parents had done it, after all. One week each, and then mutually together.

She’d needed to one-up her mother, of course. So she’d said “Four months. Be mine for four months and then I’ll be yours for four months.”

Mangrove had agreed. Nobody had been surprised; Morganna wasn’t exactly an un-tempting package, and it was a better deal than anyone else was going to offer him.

But that had been four months ago. Four months ago, today had seemed a very long time off.

Today was here. She unlocked the collar from around his neck and set it on the dresser. “Mangrove cy’Valerian, I release you. You are your own man now, and no longer Mine. Walk your own route.”

That part was harder than she’d thought it would be. She liked having him as hers. He was a good Kept – he fought a bit, yelled a bit, and was just enough trouble to keep things interesting. He reminded her of her father and her brothers, without the uncomfortable difficulty of being a relation.

“A kiss?”

She offered it, rather than demanding it, finding herself worried that he’d say no. When he just smiled at her, her worry only grew.

“Mannie…” She hated the note of pleading that came into her voice. Thank all the gods that didn’t care, it looked like he did, too.

“Oh, come on, Morgue, I was only playing.” He tilted his head up. “A kiss.”

The kiss was long, and a little clingy on both their parts. “You taste different.” Mangrove licked his lips.

“Let’s see how I taste in a minute.” She slipped off her dress and dropped to her knees. “Mangrove cy’Valerian, for the next four months, I am Yours. I come to you bare and naked; what I have will come from your hands, and everything I am belongs to you.”

His hands wrapped loosely around her throat. “Morganna cy’Drake, you belong to me. For the next four months, you are Mine. My Name will shelter you and my hand will protect you. Everything you are is mine, and everything you need, I will give you.”

It felt like falling. She leaned back, closing her eyes, and let his hands cradle her. “I’m yours.”

“Yes.” His voice was warm and thick. “Yes, you are.”

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

Alder By Post

Alder by Post

Things didn’t truly start getting fun until the whole class got in on the glitter-bombing.

Let me tell you about Alder by Post.

Once upon a time, [personal profile] eseme said to me, “why don’t you do your own postcard magazine?”

And I said, “Hunh, that sounds like a good idea.”

And thus Alder by Post was born.

Once a month, I send out a little postcard full to the margins with a little fiction.

Everybody knew that pixies and Tiny Folk hated each other…

She had been waiting, the stories said, for a hundred years…

I try to keep the stories light-hearted and safe for all audiences (my mother reads these). Some are drawn from my extant universes. Some are drawn from Giraffe Call prompts. Some are just stories that pop into my head.

Year two is just about to begin. Join us!

Alder by Post
1 year, US $20.00 USD
1 year, non-US $25.00 USD

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

Into the Doorway, a beginning for Facets of Dusk

To Rix_Scaedu‘s prompt.

Facets of Dusk has a landing page here

This is the beginning of their first mission, so comes before almost everything.

They had their assignment.

They had several assignments. There was the primary mission and two spoken secondary missions. There were their individual assignments, overt and covert. And there were a couple that did not come from their nominal leaders.

They had their gear.

Alexa had her Diplomat Clothes, wrinkle-resistant, fast-drying, and professional-looking in almost any environment.

Cole had his weapons. All of them. He had basic survival gear and a full uniform with no insignia anywhere. And he had weapons.

Josie had her backpacking gear and an apothacary’s worth of herbal… things. Nobody knew what they were for, but they were light.

Peter had his instruments, and then some more instruments, and a large pad of paper. Nobody knew what they were all for, and some of them were heavy, but Peter carried them all.

Xenia had her weapons, her climbing gear, her survival gear, and her weapons. She weighed every single item, and discarded anything that would weigh her down.

Aerich, as far as they could tell, planned on going forth with an expensive suit, a stunning chin, and monumental arrogance. Very few of these weighed anything, at least.

They had their team.

Xenia shared a look with Cole. Both of them looked at Peter; Xenia’s lip curled. Cole glanced at Aerich, his hand resting on his gun. Aerich’s lip curled at Josie. Josie’s nose wrinkled at Xenia. Xenia looked sidelong at Alexa. And Alexa was giving Peter the stinkeye.

They had their door.

Alexa. It all came down to Aleandra Bianchi. Cole stepped up to one side of her, Xenia to the other. This ought to be a military operation. It ought to be an exploratory mission. Instead, it all hinged on a former diplomat with a barely-tested ability to open doors into other worlds.

Peter ran his instruments over the doorway – deep in the archives of the university, well-camouflaged by opening, mundanely, to a supply room full of microfiche. Three of his instruments screamed at him every time they got near. It was definitely The Door.

They had their orders. Alexa opened the Door. Six mavericks stepped into the doorway.

A team would step out.

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

Mini Giraffe Call 2: Transitons

Today’s Giraffe Call Theme is Transitions

The Call for Prompts is now CLOSED!

Leave one or many prompts, and I will write (over the next week) at least one microfic (150-500 words) to each prompter (prompts may be combined)

Prompts can be related to one of my extant settings (See my landing page-landing page) or they can be for something completely different.

Prompting is free! But Donations are always welcome.

For each $5 you donate, I will write an additional 500 words to the prompt(s) of your choice.

If I get two new prompters or one new donator, I will write a setting piece (setting chosen by poll) explaining something about the prompts.

Because this is a mini-Call, there will be mini-perks!

* For every $15 donated, one prompter chosen at random will get an extra fic written –
* For every $30 donated, one random prompter will get a 500-word continuation.
* Every-$60 level open for suggestions!!

Incentives will carry over the three mini-calls in January.

500 $5.00 USD
750 $7.50 USD
1000 $10.00 USD
1250 $12.50 USD
1500 $15.00 USD
1750 $17.50 USD
2000 $20.00 USD

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