After this last Side Note
I’ve been throwing around terms in this discussion, so I thought I’d pause to define some of them.
“Ellehemaei” are the race of people from Ellehem; this includes any cross-breeding with humanity that shows any traits of the Ellehemaei (inhuman traits, psychic abilities, magic, etc.) Singular: Ellehema
“Gods,” in general, refers to old, old Ellehemaei.
The Departed (Returned) Gods are those old Ellehemaei who left – or were sent away – and were thus trapped in Ellehem for millennia.
Oh, yeah, Ellehem. It’s another world, another universe, another planet – what, exactly, is unclear. It exists such that portals can be opened between its existence and ours.
Gods Above All is a term I threw out to describe Really Really Powerful gods. These guys are the ones that crossed over the last time the portals were opened, who got called things like Zeus and Hera, and who bred with a whole bunch of humans to create the gods and the Ellehemaei as a whole.
And Faded are humans who have the blood of the Ellehemaei in their veins but little or no visible sign of that blood.
Not mentioned yet in this series of stories but pertinent:
The breeds of Ellehemaei on Earth at time just before the Fae Apoc are Daeva, Mara, and Grigori (those who, respectively, inspire, protect, and guide) and their Nedetakaei (“bad guy”) counterparts the Dragons, Hunters, and Shepherds. There are also – as most of the students in Addergoole – any number of “half-breeds,” where the blood of the Ellehemaei in their veins was mixed enough that they displayed a different change than those three breeds.
“Half-breed” or “half-blood” is insulting, but also used rather casually in fae society.
Part III: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/540099.html
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Wow. Weekend took me so long to recover from, it’s Wednesday before I’m posting about it. 🙂
Saturday, Rion & I went to visit inventrix, who lives in Colorado but was in NY for the holiday. That was loads of fun – and only the second time I’ve seen Trix in person. (Internet people are real; they’re just a little realer when you’re buying used books with them!)
Sunday was All The Gardening. Well, raking. First raking the lawn, then raking and clearing a patch of dirt for the melons/squash we plan on planting. Then more raking, I think. I’m not actually sure where Sunday evening went.
Monday, Ri and T. and I hit three wineries on the top west of Seneca Lake, then spent a couple hours at the outlet mall, then hit 2/5 wineries (“Three Brothers” is three wineries and a brewery in one) and a cafe before driving home. Then we stacked firewood until dark.
We have a lot of firewood. 🙂
That was my weekend. It looks a lot shorter in text form, but, mainly, it was a lot of fun.
How about you?
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Some people are just born to be social; Æowyn is one of those.
She’s a people-person, a social butterfly, a maven and a sometimes gossip; in a normal school, she’d be the head of her own clique. In later years at Addergoole, she probably will be the head of a crew.
This year, she’s Kept, and not very well-Kept at that. Her relationship with Fafnir (such as it is) restrains just how social she can be; all of her friends also being under a collar restrains it even more.
Æowyn is a slender blonde girl with bright blue eyes who stands barely 4’9″ tall. Her Change gives her scales down her chest and back, and poisonous fangs. It also gives her a temper to match the poison.
Only on one point has Fafnir given up: Æowyn doesn’t dress the way he’d like her to. She wears men’s button-down shirts and vests, newsboy caps and men’s slacks; only at the dances does she give in enough to wear skirts.
When un-Kept, she’ll probably wear tuxes to the dances.
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Magic Items in the Faerie Apocalypse World
In the Addergoole series, two magical collars have shown up to date: Conrad’s, originally worn by Carter, and Garfunkel’s, originally worn by Sylvia. They were created in two different ways, which nicely indicate the different sorts of magical items in Fae Apoc: Carter/Conrad’s by Working, and Gar/Sylvia’s by an innate.
The Thorne Girls created Carter’s collar to respond to a certain emotional state (Hugr) and vocal volume (Kwxe) with an electrical shock (Hiko); they did this in a complex multi-part Working using Words that they had, in conjunction with Unutu (Worked things) which each of them also had as a Word. I.e., a Thorne with Hugr would lay down a working, and then one with Kwxe, and so on.
This sort of complex team Working takes time, energy, and the ability to work as a team, something the three Thornes had in spades. If a single person were to do a Working like this, they would need to possess all the Words to create a long-term if-then sort of thing (If the target’s Hugr reads snotty, then zap Hiko If it reads actively antagonistic,, then ZAP Hiko). It would obviously take more energy, as well.
Sylvia’s collar, on the other hand, was created by someone whose innate power is, essentially, to enchant objects. She could only inlay into those objects Workings she can herself do, but the person who made the collar has Intinn, Mind, as one of her best words. Creating an artificial intelligence of sorts took a great deal of time, even for her, but far less than doing so via Workings would have done (and she can do it without speaking, an added bonus).
As for longevity: both sorts of collars are very durable; impregnating Workings into sturdy Worked goods is effective and long-lasting. The sort done with Words, however, can be dismantled more easily than the sort done with an Innate. It would take use of the Word Frodelikr to take apart Gar’s collar’s enchantment, whereas Carter’s can be taken apart by simply reversing the Workings done to it.
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If you dislike the Tír na Cali setting, this is going to be everything you dislike and more.
Rique woke up in a cold room, half-covered by a blanket.
He remembered the woman, the hot dog – he knew better, damnit, he knew better – then falling over into her arms. He remembered waking briefly, tied up and in some sort of moving vehicle. He remembered the prick of a needle.
Drugs. He’d done his damndest to avoid anything remotely drug-like in the three months he’d been out on the street – not so much as an aspirin had crossed his lips, and he hadn’t let a needle get anywhere near him. After his dad… that wasn’t important now. What was important was getting out of here before things got really fucked up.
More fucked up. A quick peek told him he was naked under the blanket, a quick exploration of the room told him that there was absolutely nothing in there except him, the bed, and a dresser. No clothes. Not even a water glass. And no window.
The door was locked, but it took him five minutes to take apart a bed spring enough to make a lock pick. The bedroom outside the first room – which could have been a closet, really – revealed clothes, women’s clothes but they would fit, and he wasn’t in any state to be picky.
They also revealed that his head had been shaved while he slept. Not just his head – his hair was a finger-thickness long now, but he had no hair at all from the neck down anymore. Not even stubble.
What kind of sick fucks had he ended up with?
A glance in a mirror answered that, too. In addition to his stolen clothes, he was wearing a collar. A metal collar, skinny, light, and locked around his neck.
Five minutes with his lock pick left him shaking his hand, swearing, and convinced that fucking with the collar was going to take different tools and a pair of rubber gloves. He was also damn certain that he was in California.
California. He stared at the mirror. Shaved head. No beard, but he’d barely had one of those to start with. Slave collar. It all looked like he was getting sold into the sex trade.
But he was in someone’s fourth-floor walk-up, which really wasn’t the place you tended to stash sex slaves, as far as he knew. And he’d been left unguarded and unrestrained.
The collar would be tricky, but the woman’s closet revealed a supply of high-necked things, including one that didn’t make him look quite so much like he was covering up a collar. He slipped on the shirt, stole her jacket, and tried the front door.
Unlocked. These people had to be the most inept kidnappers ever. Rique bopped down the stairs, took the back door, and headed out onto the street. He could lift some cash, get a set of bolt cutters and be in the wind before they even noticed he was gone.
Reggie glanced at her phone. “He’s on the street. We’ll give him twenty minutes.”
“You are one sick fuck, Reg.” Roberts was grinning at her; he liked this as much as she did.
“Of course I am. Do you think I made it too easy?”
“Maybe a little. Next time make him work for it.”
And, taking a page from Rion’s book:
If you want to see more of this scene (And there’s more just itching to be written), it can be unlocked for a $5 donation!
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There is no greater curse than ‘May you never sleep soundly,’ and no greater blessing than a soft, dry, and warm bed. – Ancient Cālenyena saying
The bed felt strange; it felt stranger to be sharing it with his captor. Girey had taken a long time to fall asleep and, from the sound of her breathing, so had his captor. There hadn’t been many actual beds for them on this journey, and both of them were soldiers; there hadn’t been that many beds for them in years.
There was a mounded blanket between them, the night being relatively warm for this far North and this early in the rainy season. Neither of them had spoken about it; they’d just pushed it there, making a final hurdle that they weren’t quite ready leap.
When Girey had finally slept, it had been a deep rest, with dreams of warmer times and sunnier skies. He had been deep in conversation with a blue-eyed girl when a commotion from downstairs wrenched him out of his sleep.
He grabbed for a weapon he didn’t carry anymore, and heard her do the same. She came up with a dirk instead of her sword, her hair tousled but her expression sharp.
In lieu of being useful, Girey lit the lamp. “Did you hear…” Another loud shout interrupted him. “…that?”
“I did.” Her smile twisted, amused for a moment. The dead had heard that; the gods had heard it. They listened in tense silence for a moment. Crockery crashed. Shouts rose. Something smashed with a high tinkle. Rin chuckled, finally. “Bar fight.”
“It sounds more like an invasion.” Not that there was anyone left to mount one.
“Full-scale invasions have less shouting.” Her chuckle quickly slid into a sigh. “Won’t be getting back to sleep for a while now, will we?”
“Doesn’t look like it.” And on the first night they’d had a bed since Ossulund. “At least we’re not on a schedule.” That was, not one he knew about, at least. She hadn’t shared her plans with him further than “going to Lanamer.”
“We can sleep all day if we want.” So, apparently they didn’t have too tight a schedule if they had one. “There is, however, always the risk of someone trying to requisition you again.”
He studied her face in the flickering light. It wasn’t always easy to tell what she was thinking; her expressions weren’t the same, and her use of the language made phrases sound strange. “You didn’t seem too happy with the idea.”
She studied his face in turn. He wondered if she had as much trouble figuring out what he was thinking. “You had a chance to make me really work to keep you, and you didn’t take it.”
“I wasn’t sure you would.” He adjusted the lamp until the flicker leveled out. “Or if you’d leave me here.” And he’d had no belief the Legate would have been a kinder master than his current captor.
She was silent while he fiddled with the light. When she did answer, she did so slowly and quietly. “If I was going to let someone take you, it would not be a shiny-button book-officer who had never gotten mud on his boots and thought the language was called ‘Bithrain.'”
Her sneer caught Girey by surprised. He barked out a laugh; she’d even managed to get the man’s high-Northern accent down. “I was wondering. I haven’t met many of your soldiers, at least not to talk to. If those people are the sort that beat my country…” His pride, among other things, had been pricked.
“They are not. They are reserves.” She paused, searching for a word, and repeated it in Bitrani. “Emergency troops.” She shifted back to her own language. “Tail-end Tebers, follow-along recruits.”
He was more relieved than he wanted to admit. “Other than the legate, they don’t seem like bad sorts. But to travel all this way, with all those prisoners, and not have any sort of translator-” He could have added “and not inform them of their fate,” but that part, at least, he shared with his countrymen. All he knew was where he was going, which he supposed was more than they knew.
“It seems that, all unwitting, he did bring along a translator.” She was looking at him oddly, her face shadowed. “There are several women in the ranks of their prisoners. I thought that the Bitrani didn’t have women in their army.”
“We don’t. They didn’t.” He had seen the women, of course; he’d talked to that one who had recognized him. But it was one thing to see them, and another to have his attention brought to their presence, to have to contemplate why they were there. “The girl that knew me, back in Ossulund – obviously she wasn’t a soldier.”
“Obviously.” Her voice was dry, dismissive. He felt stung on ’s behalf, but now was not the time. The women here were more important. “The woman here, they’re not like here. A couple of them were just near the Bitrani army when your people went through sweeping up.”
She nodded, thin-lipped. “We both know that happens.” He had assumed, after all, that she was a camp follower.
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Ora watched the decision flow over Silas’ face and body, his fangs vanishing, his smile coming back. There wasn’t that much to watch, but after this many years, she knew her mate well enough to see the shift.
A blind man could have seen the possessiveness as he welcomed her former Kept into their house. Ora didn’t mind. Silas had a right to be possessive when someone was challenging his right to their family.
She looked Adder up and down as he entered their property. The boy looked thin, wan, grubby. Worn down. “You said the world was falling to hell.” She would never have the arch skill with language that Silas and his late family did, but she could put make herself sound calmer and more innocent than she was. “What about yourself?”
Adder tried not to look as relieved as he was when Ora’s… what, husband? Keeper? Nobody was wearing a collar… when the man calling his son son invited him in. Act calm. He didn’t mean them any harm. He wasn’t sure he could do them any harm.
Ora’s question threw him right off his calm. “What?”
“Falling to Hell?” She was laughing at him. Damnit. She’d always found him funny. Adder swallowed and reminded himself that funny was better than a threat and a lot better than useless right now. He wanted her to remember she liked him.
He twisted his lips in an aping of a smile. “Oh, well, you know. I’m surviving.”
“Just surviving?” It was the first thing Hunter-Hale had said in a while, and Adder found it stung how disappointed his son sounded.
“I do all right for myself.” The boy who said he’d given Hunter-Hale his name shrugged. Hunter didn’t know what to think about him. He looked like a refugee, like one of the lost ones that wandered through sometimes, like a drowned rat just looking for a hole.
Hunter stopped in his tracks and stared at the man for a moment.
“Dad wasn’t kidding. You really are a charity case, aren’t you?”
The man flinched. He couldn’t quite meet Hunter’s eyes, either. “Those were your father’s words.”
“That doesn’t mean they’re not true.”
“No… I suppose it doesn’t.” Mom and Dad had stopped a few yards away. Adder looked over at them, and then back at Hunter-Hale. He shrugged again, looking young and lost. “Yeah. Some people didn’t end up as lucky as others.”
Mom’s voice carried, and she was back in Queen mode. “Luck had nothing to do with it.”
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The exact thought process moving those that we call the Returned Gods cannot easily be divined, because those that were questioned often chose to die or lie rather than divulge too much.
However, what can be determined is as thus:
When the Gods Above All chose to lock themselves in Ellehem with many of their wayward children, they did so quite against the wishes of those children. The children liked Earth; they liked worship; they liked having all those humans to serve them.
And so they fought, in a long and bloody war that lasted nearly a thousand years. When they were done, they had killed several of the Gods Above – as enough humans can take down an Ellehemaei, if they know the right weapons, so can enough Ellehemaei take down one of their forbears. They had imprisoned several others. And they had lost many, many of their own, as well, in numbers equivalent to the loss of human life during the time of the departed gods’ return.
It took them time to lick their wounds, to restore their numbers, to fight to a holding point between themselves and the Gods Above All. It took centuries – millennia – all the time telling themselves and their children and grand-children how wonderful the world would be, when they could return.
It took all of that, and another battle, a battle not directly against the Gods Above All (although there was quite a distractionary battle going on at the time, between the recalcitrant children and the Gods Above All), but between those who would return and the wards themselves. But in mid-2011, on the day of solstice, which was a day of strong belief, they manage to burst the wards and, all over the world, old gates between the worlds opened up.
Losing track of terms? Check them all out here
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This may require more context than is available; it comes out of a couple different Addergoole-based RP’s .
Bracken is a former Addergoole student. not a good one, either, rebellious and difficult. She’s, at the point of this story, going through a heartbreak, trying to fix the damage in her heart and her psyche, and trying to make amends with people she’s harmed. Nick is her Kept. Alexi was, at one point, Bracken’s last year of school and Alexi’s first, Bracken’s Kept.
Sometime around Year 21 of the Addergoole school; 5 years after the world ended
There had been easy pieces of Bracken’s recovery journey.
Talking to the teachers at school had not been comfortable, but she’d been able to yell, to lay blame, to explain I wasn’t a bad kid, not really. I was terrified. And then you yelled at me.
Talking to the mind-healer had not been comfortable, but it had been productive. She felt her fear trickling away, even as the pain remained. She felt a sense of worth she’d never before known, and she could begin to allow herself the comfort of the man in her bed, the one who had told her he’d stay.
(The other one had said he’d stay too. But, at the moment, that wasn’t what she was trying to fix. He had his own road to walk).
This one was harder. This wasn’t someone who had wronged her; this wasn’t the ghosts in her own head, or someone who loved her as she was, scars and broken pieces and all. This was someone who clearly felt that she had wronged him, which was a whole new kettle of fish.
Nick, the teleporter who had stayed, brought her to Silas and Orlaith’s door, not for nearly the first time. And, again, poor timing or just bad luck, Alexi answered.
Bracken studied the skinny hermaphrodite and, for a moment, could not find the words to say. Nick’s gentle prod to her side reminded her that staring at someone could be considered intimidating.
She cleared her throat. “Hi.”
“Hi.” He took a step backwards, as if the small space could protect him more than the threshold she wasn’t going to cross without an invitation.
Nick’s hand on her back calmed her before she could say something stupid. “I came to talk to you, if it’s okay…?” He was wearing a collar. It struck her that the only time she had seen him without had been just before she’d put hers on him, and just after she’d taken it off.
“To me?” Alexi squeaked it out. “Uh. Why?”
That was a very good question. Bracken took a moment to suss out a decent answer. “You’re scared of me.”
“Well, yeah.” He peered at her, seeming to be suggesting that wasn’t really an answer.
“That means I did something wrong.”
“Uh? I mean… I guess I mean uh?” Alexi took another little step backwards, hand hovering over what Bracken assumed was a panic button. She held up both her hands.
“I screwed up, Alexi. I didn’t mean to hurt you. I promise, it was never my intent to hurt you. And if I did, if you’re still scared of me now, it means I did something really wrong. And I’d like to make amends.”
The hermaphrodite blinked owlishly at her. “You want to… apologize?”
“Yeah.” She frowned, and found herself looking down at her toes, shoulders hunched. “I do. I want to make things better.”
“Why?” He was moving back towards the gate, at least.
She shrugged hard. This was hard. People were a lot harder to fix than cars, or clothes, or buildings. “Because I didn’t mean to make things bad in the first place. And…” Her shoulders jerked again. “It bugs me that I hurt you. I don’t want that on my conscience.”
It was the wrong thing to say, and she knew it as soon as it was out of her mouth. “You can’t erase the past.” He’s stopped moving closer. “You can’t undo it.”
“No. No.” She shook her head. “I can’t. But maybe I can make amends?” She was running out of ways to say the same thing. “Maybe we can, I dunno, understand each other a little better?”
He thought about that for long enough that she was starting to squirm. Finally, he nodded. “Come on in, if you mean those who reside here no harm.”
“I mean you and yours no harm.” She was surprised to find his invitation worked. “I thought you were…”
“I’m a kept boy without being Kept.” He smiled for the first time she she’d arrived. “I never really had a problem with that part of it.”
“I noticed. Urm.” She followed him into the small gate-house, which was surprisingly large enough for the three of them and rather well-appointed inside. “That’s why I was surprised when I saw you, and you were…” Hanging out with Marius had not improved her vocabulary. She flapped a hand.
“Frightened,” Nick provided.
Alexi frowned. “That bothered you?”
“Yeah?” She swallowed and struggled not to yell. “Yeah, it bothered me. I’m not scary. I’m not the bad guy.” She shrugged roughly. “I rescue people. I help people. I’m not good with people, but I’m not one of the monsters.”
“I know.” Alexi’s voice was soft, barely audible. Bracken glanced at him, then looked again. He looked a little confused, and a little worried. “I know, Bracken. You were never one of the bad guys.”
He reached across the small space and, very carefully, as if afraid she’d bite, he patted her knee. “I know that.”
She wasn’t sure if she should be reassured or more worried, but she felt a little tension leaving her shoulders anyway. A glance at Nick told her that he was, if not smiling, at least frowning less. “You’re still scared of me, though.”
“You were so angry. All through my whole first year. And when you showed up here, you were angry again. You’re kind of scary when you’re angry.”
“I fix things.” She sounded like she was pleading, and she wasn’t sure she cared.
“If you’ve ever seen yourself waving a wrench around…” Alexi shrugged. “Sorry. I mean. I know you’re one of the good guys. But you’re just kind of scary. And when I was Kept by you – you were angry all the time. So you were kind of scary all the time.” Alexi shrugged again. “Sorry. I really am. I’m not trying to freak you out…”
Bracken sighed. She was beginning to understand what happened. “No, it’s all right. I think I get it.” She mirrored the hermaphrodite’s gesture, patting a bony knee. “You’re happy here?”
“I really am.” The smile that lit up that face was something Bracken didn’t remember seeing often, and it was short-lived, sliding quickly to something like worry. “Are you?”
She glanced over at Nick, then back to her former Kept. “Happy?” It was a question she’d never really been comfortable with. “I’m learning how to be.”
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