Archive | April 3, 2013

Will That Be All, a story of Tír na Cali

Written to @Dahob’s commission after I made a comment about… characters with very similar names in this setting. This is Tir Na Cali: Standard Warnings include slavery and mild d/s.

It was a truism within Californian society: a titled male should beware taking a woman, slave or no, as his Companion; there would endlessly be questions about who was in charge.

Anthony ap Howard Ó Gwydion didn’t need to be told that. He had absolutely no question about who was in charge in his House.

“Will that be all, my Lord?” His Companion stood in his doorway, all business.

“That will be all, Miss Pepper.” Pepper ran his House for him; she ran his business for him. If she’d been born to a noble mother and not a slave, she’d be running the country. She looked, more than Tony did,every inch the Californian noble: red hair, grey eyes, fair skin. She looked delicious. “Oh. One more thing.”

“Yes, my Lord?” Her lips were quirking. She was trying not to smile at him. That was the game: could he get her to smile while they were still, technically, in public?

“Close the door.”

He was going to lose that game today. Pepper had been gone on business for days.

“Behind me or in front of me, my Lord?” Ooh, almost a smile. But it was because she teasing him, points off.

“In front of you, Miss Pepper.” He set down the piece he was working on. He didn’t want it to get broken, and…

The door shut, and Pepper’s eyes blazed green. “Tell me, Tony, have you been good?”

If Tony had wanted to be in charge, he never would have bought a slave sired by the queen’s favorite lover. He swallowed as her power washed over him.

One swallow, and then another. He’d try to fight it, of course. “You’re terrifying, you know that, right? I mean, not normally. Normally you’re a beautiful specimen of womankind. But when you do that… no. No I have not been good, unless you’re willing to stretch your definition of “good” quite a bit and maybe take into consideration extenuating circumstances.”

“Tony, unless those extenuating circumstances are ‘being Tony Ó Gwydion-‘”

“Which, you have to admit, is something of a circumstance!”

“-I can’t think of anything I’d believe.” She strode forward, her heels clicking on the hard floor of his workshop. “Tell me.” Her eyes were glowing again, shit, why did she never leave anything to chance? “How were you bad today, Tony?”

“What, you’re not even going to consider the extenuating circumstances? I have proof!”

“I will consider them after you answer me, Tony.”

“Oh. Well. If you’re going to be that way, then Her Ladyship the Countess of San Diego was visiting this afternoon while you were out. With her even lovlier mother the Dowager Countess. And well, I might have been a little bit blissed out of my mind, medicinally, you understand.”

“Tony. What. Did. You. Do?” Pepper frowned at him, clearly trying to hide the edges of a smile. It was no less terrifying that she was amused. Tony swallowed, and tried to remind himself that he owned her, not the other way around.

“I may have told her High Bitchiness that she would have the Barony over my dead body.”

“Perhaps I should arrange that for her, then.”

He owned her. Tony swallowed hard. “You wouldn’t want to do that, now? Then you wouldn’t be able to have any fun with me. And I know you like having fun with me, don’t you, Miss Pepper?”

She stomped one foot. Tony checked the door again – yes, closed and bolted – and the one behind him – also bolted – and his phone – off. “Don’t you like to play with me, Mistress Pepper?”

“You know I like to play with my boy. Very well. I won’t kill you today.” She crossed the room in a slow cadence of clicking heels. “Say thank you, Tony.”

“Thank you, Tony. I mean, thank you, Mistress Pepper. I really think my dying would be inconvenient for both of us, all things considered.” She was standing directly in front of him, perfect suit, perfect body, perfect smile. He was doomed.

“Tony.” And yet again, her eyes glowed green. “Shut up.”

Tony shut up. The thoughts babbled on. And you know if you really wanted to kill me, you could just do this out on the front lawn and the Agency would do the job for you and this, Tony, is why you get shut up whenever she does that and what is she doing now?

She was taking his shirt off, is what she was doing, meticulously unbuttoning every button. “Pants.”

She didn’t need to make that one an order. He peeled off his pants, his mind still babbling. And what is it going to be this time, how badly did I piss her off, shit, shit. His pants and shoes joined his shirt on the floor.


And that answered that question. That, and the thin metal ruler Pepper was holding in her hand. Tony covered himself and shook his head. No, not the ruler.

She didn’t like it when he made her use orders. Her eyes glowed again. “Grab your ankles, Anthony.”

Tony spread his feet and grabbed his ankles. As the ruler hit, he reminded himself that, if he’d wanted a Companion that didn’t boss him around, he shouldn’t have picked Pepper.

Of course, both he and she knew that was why he’d brought her home.

Naming conventions within the Tír na Cali royalty: Except for the Gwydion line, royals are named [name] ni/ap [mother] Ó [line]. The Gwydions follow a male line.

Slaves take de [owner’s name] as their surname, thus Pepper would be Pepper de Anthony.

“My Lord” indicates any royal male.

“Miss [name]” is a polite title for a female slave.

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Thick, a continuation of Facets of Dusk for the Giraffe Call (@Rix_scaedu)

After Deep in the Autumn Air, after Cloaked. rix_Scaedu‘s commissioned continuation.

“The air is thick with magic.”

Josie had been singing, skipping down the dusty road. Suddenly, she stopped, turned three sixty, and then turned around again until she was looking at Aerich.

Aerich harrumphed. The woman insisted on assuming kinship with him.

She rolled her eyes at him. “Do the Aseteshin Rote, widdershins.”

“Counterclockwise.” He corrected her reflexively. “Wait, how do you know of the Aseteshin Rote? And why would I do it widdershins?”

“Because the moons hang in the wrong side of the sky, here.” Her placid, cheerful smile ignored the fact that she’d only answered half his question. “Do it. You’ll see.”

Aerich grumbled, because the woman had a way of doing that to him that irritated him more than anything in the world, except possibly Alexa.

And then, because she was actually an expert in her field, albeit a crazy one and one who couldn’t keep her head out of the clouds with an anvil tied to her feet, Aerich did the Aseteshin Rote. Counterclockwise.

This particular rote was, he’d thought, known only to his family. Aseteshin was a family word, at least, penned in family chronicles; he had only ever seen the rote drawn in those same tomes.

“A moment, if you would, Cole.” He’d finally unbent to first names, because the rest of the team was merciless when he didn’t.

“This is your sort of world. Do your oogy-boogy stuff.” Cole leaned against a walking stick – where he’d gotten that, Aerich didn’t want to know – and waited.

The dust of the road would do. Aerich squatted down and drew out a circle in the dirt, and then, from memory, sketched in the symbols of the Rote.

“The air,” he allowed after a moment, “is thick with magic. Thicker than any place I have ever read of. It’s not as if it is coming from a single source; it’s as if it’s another element in the atmosphere.”

“They’re breathing magic?” Peter looked less than impressed. “They’re certainly breathing something.” His infernal gadgets beeped along under his cloak.

Aerich didn’t deign to answer. Instead, he looked at Josie. He did not like to admit weakness, but it was only fair to acknowledge when she acted reasonably. “You were right.” He braced for a mindless piece of fluff.

“Thank you.” She pointed at one of the symbols of the Rote. “If you reverse that, I think you can determine the source.”

“If you are so wise in rotes-“

“Why do I do things my way? You said it yourself. Some people are born to the arcane methods of thaumaturgy, and some are merely dabblers in the art.”

“That is not what I-“

“She’s got you word for word, Aerich.” Cole sounded far too amused. “Besides, she covers areas you don’t, and you get the things she can’t. Specialization.”

“Specialization.” Aerich swept the rote away carefully. “As Ms. Carlyle indicated, there is a high concentration of magic in the atmosphere. It may affect our instruments, Dr. Hill. It may affect your weapons, Sergeant Hampton, Lady Hart. It will almost certainly affect our minds.”

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Tasty (Wednesday): Babka for Easter

For Easter Sunday, as a change from the Incredible Simple Cake we made for St. Patty’s Day, we made a “traditional bread” that involved milk, eggs, leavening, sugar, and rum (as well as fruit and the normal ingredients)

Spousal Unit comes from a Polish family, and since I have almost no ethnic tradition of my own (When asked to write a poem about my roots in high school, I wrote “I bury me feet deep/in mud-deep soil/I walk barefoot through the land/my ancestors farmed…” Ethnicity? Farmer), I tend to borrow his.

So when this recipe – Polish Babka – popped up in my inbox, we just had to try it.


Warning: we ate the entire thing. In one sitting. Um. There’s two of us.


Notes: The candied fruit really added nothing, which is sad, because Rion and I quested for it. We’d double or treble the raisins next time & skip the fruit. And it really does need a full day to soak, and a heavier rum sauce (I added a 1/4 cup of dark rum, what’s this tablespoon crap?).

But really, wow.

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Way Back Wednesday: Akatil Yixox

Early 1970’s

Reid found the goblin who was dubiously named Akatil Yixox where he’d expected to find him – miles deep inside the machinery, tinkering.


“Reid.” The tiny man pushed his goggles onto the top of his head. “I’m working.”

“I got an offer. And it includes both of us.” He paused. “Mo made the offer, actually.”

“You’re obviously going to take it.”

“It’s got a lot of merit. And it involves teaching.”

“And you want me to come along.”

“They don’t have a good Unutu guy.” Reid could barely say the word. “And, besides, you owe me seventeen and one-half favors.”

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