Archive | March 12, 2014

Biting the Foot, a drabble of Dragons next Door for the Random Bingo Card

To [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt to my other bingo call.

This fills the square “Biting the Foot,” and references the dragons’ pet Tay-tay, described here

Some people’s neighbors had dogs.

Some people had people for neighbors, or at least humans.

Carl didn’t know why his wife had insisted on moving to Smokey Knoll, or why they’d bought the house across from the dragons (except that the only other humans lived nearby), but he knew that the dragons had a pet, an erbiss, a blue-green dog-lizard thing.

And the erbiss had grabbed on to the foot of Carl’s friend Don, and would not let go or be removed.

And the damn human neighbors were laughing.

“They can sense malice, you know.”

Some people had human neighbors.

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There Are Things You’re Not Noticing

[personal profile] librarygeek commissioned this continuation of By the Time Anyone Noticed and They Have to Notice Eventually, a story (in two parts) of a former-Addergoole-student mother from the February Giraffe Call.

The Addergoole setting has a landing page here, although Cleone is a new character.

This is placed somewhere after the apocalypse…

There were things in Cleoneville that people questioned internally but did not ask out loud. There were questions they had all learned not to ask, because asking led to… vanishing, in the worst cases, and things they didn’t want to think about, in better cases. It was Cleone’s town and Cleone’s settlement, and that’s the way it was.

But there were things that they never questioned at all. They knew them to be true, the way they knew the sky was “blue” that was often grey and white, the way they knew that gravity worked.

One of those things was: There are Fae who are monsters, and they will come and make war; if we are not prepared, they will kill us.

They didn’t need Cleone to tell them that. They didn’t need anyone to tell them that, because they lived in the world where it was a fact.

When the people from Addergoole came, they came Masked. They didn’t come in force, firstly because collecting a child was a relatively routine matter, and secondly because there were, after all, more than a couple children to collect for the school. But they did send Luke, and with him Shira Pelletier – their security and weapons expert, and the sweet, understanding Sciences professor who happened to be an expert hunter. Because Shira Pelletier, who was also their seer, had seen something she couldn’t explain.

They were Masked, every bit of fae-ness covered with impenetrable glamours, but it didn’t matter, because Cleone recognized them before they reached her town.

She sounded the alarm, and her people – all of her people, the former students of Addergoole, the wandering fae, the humans who thought this was a nice and safe place to settle – all of them fought.

Luke was ancient and Shira nearly as so; Luke was a soldier and a warrior and above all a fighter and Shira was a hunter and a survivor; but there were two of them and there were dozens upon dozens of their unexpected enemy, and the enemy was armed with deadly rowan and poisonous hawthorn.

Cleone’s fighters couldn’t win, of course – the humans had no chance at all and the Addergoole graduate had only a small hope – but they could certainly get the teachers’ attention.

“The oath will not let you keep your children from the school, Cleone.” Luke fended off three farmers with pitchforks and one angry former student.

Cleone, usually the sort to speak first, threw a fireball. While Luke was ducking, she retorted.

“I didn’t swear the oath.”

“Your great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers did.” Luke was too strong to be taken out by something as mundane as a fireball. He ducked, letting Shira take out the former student with a quick sleep spell.

“It shouldn’t bind me!”

“But it does. And it binds Dagmar.” Luke caught the farmers in a tangle of pitchforks. “Your people are going to get hurt, Cleone.”

“So will you.”

“I’m a lot more durable than they are.”

“Then concede. Walk away, and they’ll stop fighting you. Fly away, even, and we won’t give chase.” She motioned, and a winged boy dove in to attack. “Stay here and insist on taking my child, and they’ll keep attacking you forever.”

The Mara beat off the attacker with almost no effort – no physical effort; everyone there could see the pain on his face.

“He was one of yours, wasn’t he? Your student, a cy’Luca? This boy.” Cleone gestured at the unconscious would-be-attacker. “And now he’s mine. And he’ll keep attacking you until you concede.”

It was Shira Pelletier who spoke now, possibly because Luke did not look capable of speech. His face was turning an interesting shade of red, and his lips were turning white. “You know that it’s not his to decide. You know the promise was made.”

“I know the promise was made. And I know she can release it. Go back to Addergoole. Go back to your precious Director. Tell her to release me and my children from this oath.” She gestured imperiously, and the attacks stopped. Luke flared his wings, unimpressed.

“The oath will make you give in eventually.”

“And then I will order my people to lock me in a tower and defend me, and then there will be no calling them off. And then what will you do? Slaughter humans? Slaughter dozens of your former students? I don’t think you will.”

Now, Luke spoke, growled from between clenched teeth. “You didn’t have a bad time. I made sure of it.”

“Me?” She sounded innocent. “No. No, none of us did. It was a good four years, a good time. I liked the fathers of my children well enough. I liked the time I spent well enough. But you’re only… inhuman. You’re not infallible. And I’ve heard stories.”

“You’re doing this over a story?

“I’m doing this for my children.” She stood up a little straighter. “Because it comes in waves. And there’s no promising that this year will be better, that this year will be a good year. So we had four good years. What about the bad ones? What about the years the Nedetakaei attacked?”

“You blame me for that, too?” Luke’s wings flared. “When I nearly lost my own children to it?”

“Yes!” Her voice raised to a shout, and all around her, people who were Cleone’s, whether they knew it or not, took a step back, and another. “Because if your own children were there and you did not stop them, then why would you do anything for my children?”

Luke’s wings snapped open and closed tightly. “You will release these people, Cleone. Now.”

“I will do no such thing. They are my hostages against my children’s fates.”

“Cleone.” Shira spoke over the growing silence that was Luke. “The promise that was made, so many years ago, helped to save the world. And it helped to shape the world that survived.”

“It doesn’t look like much of a saving.” Cleone’s arm jerked out, taking in the town she had built. Once, before the collapse, there had been a city here.

“Then you should have seen what it would have looked like without Addergoole’s intervention.” Now even Pelletier was snappish. “The promise was made for a reason.”

“And the war is over. What reason do we have to continue with this farce? Why should I risk my children?”

“Instead, you would risk all these other mothers’ daughters and sons?” Shira gestured around at Cleone’s people, nearly frozen in place.

“They are not my children.” Cleone stood unmoved. “The war happened, Professor Pelletier. Generations ago. The world ended. The project should be over.”

“I was the one who saw the war ending.” Shira raised her chin and stared her former student down. “And I tell you now, the need for the Addergoole project is still strong.”

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A Summary of Recent Writing

The Last Summary

Other Trees, Same Forest

Potential Sumbission Locations
A rather different take on mpreg
Character Buildinator

Signal Boost
A Poem by JJ Hunter

Building the Trees

February World-Building
February World-Building Q27<, Unicorn/Factory
February World-Building Qxx, Fae Apoc
February World-Building Q28, Meta
February World-Building Q29, Addergoole
February World-Building Q30, Facets
March: Women’s History
March is Women’s History Month – Ask Questions


Facets of Dusk
Wrong Door
Tír na Cali
The Collar Job, Part VII
The Collar Job, Part IX

Space Accountant
Betting Time
Fairy Town
Give and Take

A Scene Description, Unknown World

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Betting Time

This is to [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt to this bingo card.

It fills the “Greed” square.

It is part of my Space Accountant setting and comes before Accident and after Betting on It.

They were playing Flotsam, Genique and the two young men, wagering with time, their own free time, and Genique was losing.

She was losing, it appeared, badly. She was down thirty-six hours and a massage, most of it to Marsey the hitter, but a few hours here and there to Darretchon the hacker.

And Marsey had plans, she could tell, for every one of those hours. He was licking his lips. It would have been flattering, if it wasn’t a bit scary.

“One year.” He flicked the chips in.

Genique tried not to smile. The boy was hungry.

“One year.”

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Food Log 3/11

Getting later and later with these…

Coffee, standard
Cardio Shopping – whee!
Peanut Butter, 1 teas
Cheerios, 1/2 cup
Dirty Rice (leftover from the day before)
Coco multigrain pop cake, x1
Rice cakes
Peanut Butter, 1 teas
Walkies – 1 hour, w/ Rion, mellow, outside
Salad (with hard-boiled eggs and bacon)
Olive Oil chocolate chip Cookies

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February is World Building Month. Day Thirty: Facets of Dusk

[personal profile] piratekitten declared February world-building month.
And now it is March and I am finishing up the questions!
The question post is here
The eighteenth question comes from [personal profile] clare_dragonfly and is for Facets of Dusk
Who discovered the portal thingies? How did it start out?

In the universe the team calls Prime, in our era, Alexa discovered the Doors by accident.

She was – or had been – dating Aerich, and they got into yet another fight, as they were prone to doing. She stormed out of his study and into his library, through a door that was older than the family house in which he lived.

[Aerich’s family consist of a long and esteemed lineage of scholarly mages who discovered the Doors centuries ago, but had never figured out how to make them properly function. As only a few people in any given billion have the ability, nobody in Aerich’s family, nor their associates, had ever managed to spark the doors. Alexa did.]

She traveled from universe to universe for three years; there was a murder investigation back on Earth Prime, and she was officially declared missing: presumed dead.

While Aerich was being charged with her murder, Alexa was discovering by trial and error how the Doors work and how to find them. They do not always lead to the same place multiple times in a row and, unlike a Stargate, they don’t come with a coordinate system. Each universe has several, although the specific number varies with world.

When she returned – not into Aerich’s family library, but into a storeroom in the basement of a famous university – she was immediately snagged by a shadow branch of the U.S. Government, working with an unwilling but competent Aerich and several of his associates.

Once they determined that Alexa could, indeed, open the Doors, they put together an exploration team, and the Facets team was born.

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A Scene Description (@korionfray)

So, the writer in my attic, K Orion Fray, sends out a weekly writing inspiration e-mail, which includes a writing prompt.

A prompt from several weeks ago:

Write for ten minutes, and describe something. It can be a person, a place, or and object – but just describe it. Use as many of the senses as you can, and don’t skimp!

Description in line is something I need work at. So I rolled up three random names and a couple random outfits and went to work.

Marje Allise strode into the room, two steps and leagues ahead of Ket Vasquez. She was dressed in k.d. lang chic today, her indigo suit pattered all over with black designs. It didn’t do to look too closely at the patterns, a lesson Kara had learned the hard way.

“All right.” Marje appropriated the nearest chair, swung it around, and plopped down backwards in it, leaning on the headrest. Her hair, for a moment, failed to obey the commands implicit in the styling gel Marje bought in bulk; one cinnamon-colored curl dangled over her patrician nose, softening the Sergeant’s habitual glare. “Give me what you’ve got.”

Behind her, Ket fiddled with the valises, setting them up on the rickety side table, rearranging them, opening and closing them. Even his suit was a pale imitation of Marje’s: black instead of midnight indigo, the patterns grey and mauve instead of black. He was wearing a fedora, as if that helped. At least it covered up his perpetually-tousled hair.

Kira dragged her eyes away from the boy, found them settling on the way the patterns on Marje’s suit traced her broad shoulders, and dragged her eyes away again. The Sergeant had asked her a question. She coughed.

“Ah, yes. What I’ve, that is, what we’ve….”

“Agent.” Marje didn’t need her voice to fill space. Her presence did that all on her own. So her voice was quiet – not a whisper, not the sort of quiet that hid from listeners, just the voice that had no need to raise itself.

“Yessir?” Kira swallowed around a lump in her throat.

A Scene Description
A Place Description
A Deletion

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Give and Take, a story of Fairy Town for the December OrigFic Bingo card

For [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt to my December Bingo Card – it fills the “Disability: Chronic” square.

Fairy town has a landing page here on DW and here on LJ

I do believe the beggar Kelkyag was referring to was this guy. It fits, at least.

Aston had learned years ago that there were some things magic couldn’t cure.

He’d learned even earlier that modern medicine couldn’t fix everything; he’d learned that when his mother got sick, when Mrs. Newmann next door got sick, when Randy from school got sick and never came back.

He’d been eight, then, and the doctors had told him things that he hadn’t really understood, and his father had told him things that hadn’t helped much, and Mr. Newmann had cried for hours and wouldn’t talk to him.

But eight was old enough to know that Granny Paolo was not actually his granny, no matter that she babysat him and gave him sweets he wasn’t supposed to have. And eight was old enough to learn that magic had a cost.

So Aston had told Granny “I’ll pay it. Whatever. Just bring mommy and Mrs. Newmann back.”

And she had asked him, “you, who are a child-boy, you, when their husbands could not?”

Which was when Aston learned that love had limits. The first time Aston learned love had limits.

“Me,” he’d agreed.

“You are young, son, and have your life in front of you. Would you risk that, for the sake of those that are old?”

“My mother’s not old!”

“Older than you, child.”

“Not old at all!”

“Come back tomorrow. I will give you this – they will get no worse between now and then. Think about it. Ask your father, if you would. Ask your friends.”

Aston had already learned that his father would not pay the price, whatever it was.

But he did ask his friends: the goblin in the park, the faerie in the fountain, the lion in the bar.

“It will be hard. But it will be worth it.” Three voices, three phrasings, but Aston understood the meaning.

And he had paid the price.

Years later, frustrated and angry and losing the last of his sight, hungry and depressed and with all his human friends having left him, he’d confronted Granny Paolo.

“You saved my mother. You saved Mrs. Newmann. There has to be a way to save my sight.”

She had shaken her head – it was only a blur, then, but he could see the movement. “No, so. The price of magic is its price, and cannot be wished away.”

And he had cried like a babe, the way he hadn’t when his mother was sick, and Granny Paolo had comforted him, patted his back, and fed him cookies like he was eight again.

“You have borne up under this burden well, so I will tell you this: when you give of yourself like you did, selflessly and wholly, the magic always gives something back.”

It had taken Aston four more years to find it, the voice like an angel that poured from him mouth, and by then, his sight was gone altogether. Magic gave, and magic took. For everything there was a price.

He sat in his spot by the curb and sang, his hat out. Sometimes the good people left money, and sometimes the bad people took it. Aston didn’t mind. Life, like magic, gave and took. He sang them all a song and let the fates sort it out.

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