Archive | December 18, 2013

Falling from Grace, a story for the Orig-fic Bingo

To [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith‘s prompt to my orig-fic card. This fills the “Grace” slot.

Um also oops I accidentally tripped and um a setting? <.<

It had become a bit of a thing among the teens, the dispossessed, and the disillusioned, those hiding out under bridges, under water, under rafters from the things that called themselves The Deities.

They called it the Fall from Grace, the kids did. It involved a small bottle of something sold on the black market as Angel’s Tears, a kystka-stylus, and the patience of saints. But these kids had patience, or at least they had desperation, which can serve in its stead.

The bottle of Angel’s Tears, applied carefully with the stylus, would burn the skin and then evaporate, leaving behind it perfect thin lines of scars. It did not burn everyone – that was the odd part – but it had become a rite of passage under-bridge and under-rafter, and those who had successfully scarred themselves showed off their patterns, elaborate and plain, swirling and sharp, as badges of honor.

It was, of course, illegal, forbidden by The Deities and their Voices. Angel’s Tears themselves were verboten, along with thousands of other substances, some of them seeming quite benign, but that did not stop the black market in them from moving product rapidly and constantly. Most of the forbidden items could be disposed of into a canal or a dumpster quickly, if a Deities’ Eyes happened to be passing by, and often they were.

The Deities’ Eyes did not swim, as far as the citizens of the city could determine. They did not swim, and they definitely did not dive. Nor did the Voices; nor did the Deities themselves. Thus, of course, swimming and diving, too, were outlawed.

Swimming did not leave a mark, and was itself a means of escape from capture. Bootlegging could be hidden. Falling from Grace…

Falling from Grace marked you permanently. It said to all who chose to see, here I am, the disenfranchised, the displaced, and I defy your laws. It said to anyone who chose to see you bare that you had stuck your chin up, gritted your teeth, and applied Angel’s Tears to your skin.

And it said that you were such that the caustic Grace of the Deities, their distilled essence, their sweat and spit and piss… all that Angel-effluvience that went into the thing called Tears… that the distilled Grace of the Deities burned your very skin.

It wasn’t so much Falling from Grace as jumping, but had become quite the thing in recent nights.

A kystka or kistka() is a stylus for applying heated wax to pysanky. As I pictured Angel’s Tears being viscous, it was the first tool that came to mind.

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Freedom, Orig-Fic, Stranded World

To Rix_Scaedu‘s prompt to my orig-fic card. This fills the “freedom” slot.

Autumn and Winter are characters in my Stranded World setting; this story is earlier in their lives than most of the stories.

“It’s about Freedom.” Autumn sat on the edge of the bridge, feet dangling over the edge, not so much looking at the water as looking at the reflections in it. Hers, wild-colored and wild-haired, and his, cool-hued and smooth-tressed. Even here, even ‘dressed down,’ he looked proper.

“Of course it is about freedom. Everything in life is.” Winter spoke in measured tones, careful tones.

“How can you say that?” She twisted to look at in properly now, him, the connections between them, the lines around his life. “When you are so tied up in strands, so smoothed-out and constrained?”

“How can you say you are free?” His voice was, of course, calm. “When you do not know where your next meal will come from, when you are uncertain where you will sleep at night, when you have no home?”

“This is the life I chose.” Autumn tried not to raise her voice too much. He was her brother. He was her big brother; he would always be her big brother.

“And this is the life I chose, Autumn.” He patted her shoulder. “You find your freedom on the open road, and I… find mine in an office. Are we not both free?”

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Linden-Flower Tea

This came about because of a box of tea my roommate just showed me. 😉
It helps to know that Mike is Mike VanderLinden, whose original use-name is Linden-Flower.
Shira is Professor Pelletier; Maureen is Lady Maureen Foxglove. All three are staff at Addergoole.

It had started as a dirty joke between Shira and Maureen, shared over their third or fourth beer one late night in Mau’s Tavern.

“Well,” Shira had been laughing, “if all else fails, there’s Linden Flower tea for what ails you.”

“Unless it’s lindens that ail you, of course.” Maureen had smirked over her beer and they had moved on to more tree metaphors.

Shira had forgotten the whole thing until Christmastime, when a box of linden-flower tea had shown up under her tree. Once that had been done, though, the gauntlet had been thrown and it was on.

Linden scented oil. Linden sachets. Little linden-leaf-embroidered towels. “Good for what ails you.”

“Unless the lindens are ailing you.” Not that Mike was ever what actually ailed them, Maureen and Shira. They had their weaknesses, neither would deny it, but vain and vapid Daeva were not on either’s list.

After a while, it creeped into Shira’s everyday vocabulary. She had a student who was having some issues with body image, and, in speaking to Caitrin, suggested the boy might want some linden-flower tea for what ailed him. Another year, she suggested it to Laurel, when she and Wysteria were having a falling-out in their invisible relationship. Once, she even said it to a student.

“I don’t know. It’s just the whole idea is a little nerve-wracking. I get all the urges, but then I start getting scared and over-thinking everything…”

“Have you considered some linden-flower tea?” In Shira’s defense, it had been a long week. She covered it quickly, segueing into something else before coming back to the suggestion more directly.

But in all those years, it never occurred to her – and possibly not to Maureen, either – that the target of their joke was aware of it.

Until she found a box of tea under her tree again that Christmas, with a note attached:

Don’t bother with the infusion, come straight to the solution. ~M~

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Auction Item: Student Cameo

The student and friends stepped out from between the buildings just as Tairiekie was walking by. “…but then there was that problem in Philosophy. I think the instructor hates me.”

From the uniform, they were in [INSERT HERE] House, and from the cut of it, they weren’t a new student.

“Come on, [NAME HERE], you’re blowing it out of proportion. Instructor Pelnyen doesn’t hate you. He’s just…”

“Instructor Pelnyen,” the third of the group filled in.

“See?” Tairiekie murmured to Enrie. “It’s not just me.”

Or maybe [NAME HERE] is having trouble with Art class, or maybe they’re fighting with another student. Maybe they’re homesick.

You tell me! Bid here to name and describe this characer.

My naming rights auction – main post here is still going strong. Don’t you want to be a part of my world?

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