Archive | August 2014

Weird Summer – a blog post

It’s been a weird summer, and an even weirder week.

The weather’s been off all summer – spring storms and autumn chills through July and August, grey days and damp nights and not a day in the nineties – hardly a day in the 80’s! And I’ve been a little off, too. Not entirely sure why, but it’s been a bit harder to get excited, and bit harder to hold on to energy, all summer – all year – long.

These things happen, and as we go into September, I’m trying to muster energy to … well, to have energy.

The weather might be chilly, but it’s lovely for hiking; I want to do more of that in the next few weeks. Then there’s the wedding – Best Friend Evar is getting married at the end of the month – AND she & Fiance are coming to visit this weekend!

(gonna be so much good food, and so much awesome hanging out, and so much… everything!)

(I don’t get to see them often; they live ~4 hours away and are Very Busy People)

So! There are things to be excited about, and one of my goals for September is to work on remembering that.

The other goals: remember I’m trying to lose weight, not gain it; and actively work on submitting stories to anthologies/contests.

Oh, and get that Kickstarter thing going.

I can do this!

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Being A Samurai Takes Work, a drabble of Doomsday Academy for the Giraffe Call

A commissioned continuation from (I believe) [personal profile] thnidu.

After Gonna Be a Samurai

and Going to Learn How to be A Samurai.

Being a samurai took a lot of discipline. That’s what the books had said. Discipline and hard work and kimono and…

And apparently it took math classes, too, history classes, watching tv shows called anime from before the collapse, and, peh, being nice to all his fellow students. Even the silly ones.

And it took listening to Miss Ascha as if she were his sensei. Which, Austin supposed, she really was. And that meant more math and history and geology and, well, more being nice to his fellow students.

He bowed very politely to Sianna. If she wanted him to learn how to waltz, well, he guessed he was learning the waltz with her.

I don’t have a strong mental image for Austin yet (except touseled light-brown hair), but Sianna looks more or less like this

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Visiting Doomsday, a story of Addergoole/Doomsday Academy

This is written as @inventrix’s commissioned continuation of this drabble posted on the Addergoole Facebook (also the first ~100 words of this piece).

Luke folded his wings against his back and tried not to stare.

When Cynara had come to them, to Regine, saying “I built a school,” he hadn’t know what to expect. Hell, when she’d started building the CITY, he hadn’t know what he’d find.

What he saw was… children, and teens, moving from building to building, smiling, their grey-and-black-and-white uniforms adorned with splashes of color and their interactions adorned with what sounded like playful rivalry.

He’d come anticipating a mess to be dealt with, or a boot camp to be… handled.

He didn’t quite know what to think about this.


Luke had first visited the city back when it was nothing more than four houses and five half-done walls. Cynara’s grandchildren had been worried about her – for the first time in their lifetimes, she hadn’t taken a Kept that year. And she was wandering off…

It wasn’t that fae didn’t get senile, but they didn’t often do so that young. Still, halfbreeds were halfbreeds, and Boom wasn’t exactly known for their stability in the first place. Luka had gone to check up on Cynara, both because her grandchildren had asked, and because a more-unstable-than-usual Boom was something they would need to know about, before it… ah, exploded.

And found Cynara building a city. She was, as far as he could tell, building it mostly with Workings, staring at the ground and willing up vast walls a foot at a time. It had to be exhausting work. It had to be miserably boring. And yet he watched her go on for hours.

She didn’t acknowledge his presence until she stopped for a break, and, even then, she poured two cups of water instead of one, and held out up in his direction.

When he went home, he told Regine & the grandchildren that everything was fine, and meant it.


The second time he’d visited, Regine had just turned Cynara down. This time, he found the walls complete, many of the buildings inside finished, and a bustling population. He also found guards at the gate who were quite clear that he would land and walk in like a normal person, or be shot down.

Since he was pretty certain that they could and would do it, he landed, and, rather than coming in, wrote out a message for Cynara, called Red Doomsday (and what had her Mentor been thinking, with a name like that? Red Doomsday? Might as well have called her Explosion Waiting to Happen.

Of course, they’d all been waiting for that explosion for a very, very long time…)

The message was short, but it said what it needed to: Addergoole will not interfere. I’d like to come visit, if you’ll allow it.

It was her home, after all. He went home and told Regine there was nothing to worry about. He wasn’t sure, this time, if he meant it or not.

When her reply had not come immediately, Luke had begun to doubt his choice. He’d chewed it over with Mike – who had a bias – with Laurel – who had far less of one – and with Mystral – whose bias was at least different.

The consensus, inasmuch as you could get those three to agree on anything, was give it time.

Luke had given it a year. Then the letter had arrived from Cynara: You are welcome to come, but it would make me more comfortable if you would wait one more year.

She was hiding something. There was no reason to send a letter like that unless she was covering up something.

Luke had written back: Then I will see you in a year. He’d told Regine that there was nothing to worry about, lying through his teeth.


Cynara had sent him an engraved invitation, which showed up fifty-one weeks to the day since her last letter had arrived. An actual engraved invitation, the curly font requesting the honor of his presence for a “Demonstration Day” at Doomsday Academy.

Luke had responded on the enclosed RSVP card. He had added a note to the back, in his own words – tempting as it was to borrow Mike for the fancy phrasing – telling Director Cynara that he would be honored to visit. When he passed it over to her very-formal-looking (and very-young-looking) courier, he suppressed all concern and gave the boy a friendly smile and a tip.

And here he was, standing at the entrance to Doomsday Academy, under the arch that probably-coincidentally was too narrow to allow his wings to unfurl, waiting for his tour guard.

“Sa’Hunting Hawk.” Cynara looked – not all that different from forty years ago, as long as you stopped at the superficial. Her face was still young, but her posture and her expression were a lot more sure of herself.

Luke was surprised – although he probably shouldn’t have been – to see that she had her Mask down, the fluffy mink-like tail and ears of her Change visible for all to see. And she was smiling, although Luke knew better than to read anything at all into that.

“Jae’Red Doomsday.” He nodded politely to her. “Your city is quite lovely.”

“You’ve hardly scratched the surface.” She gestured through the stone arch towards her school. “But I do thank you for coming. Would you like to see the rest?”

“Yes, please.” He could already see at least seventeen ways in which the plans Cynara had provided to Regine had been altered. “I’m surprised you’re willing to let me in here.”

“Well, there’s always the chance that you have a photographic memory and, well, being a Mara, I assume you’re a tactical genius.” She turned a bright smile on him. “I chose to decide that you were unlikely to attack the school.”

Luke blinked. He considered the issue, thought about asking a question, discarded it, and then decided that he probably needed to know. “Do you do threat assessment on all your visitors?”

“Don’t you?” She changed the subject before Luke could answer. “All right, this is the campus complex. If it looks like a series of houses in a residential neighborhood, that’s on purpose.”

When he had told Feu Drake where he was going, the enigmatic Law Professor had asked Luke two questions.

Do you remember yourself as a teenager?

He did, of course. The Revolutionary War tended to stick even in immortals’ minds.

Do you remember yourself as a grandfather?

“Over and over again.” Chavva and Icarus had kids now, after all. His granddaughter Griselda’s children had children.

Feu Drake had simply smiled. Looking at the set of Cynara’s ears, Luke suddenly remembered that her grandchildren, too, had children.

Luke cleared his throat. “It doesn’t look too different from the rest of the city here. A couple of the houses are bigger, maybe, but I saw houses that big coming through town.”

“Exactly.” The smile she shot him was the you-bright-student-you type of expression. Luke struggled to keep his wings from flapping.

This was a quiz, then, was it? “Your plans have the school in the tower there. And it does say ‘Doomsday’ on it.”

“It makes a nice big shiny target, doesn’t it?” She was enjoying this, the little minx… mink. “This is the Dining Hall. We’re running about seventy students, so it doesn’t need to be big. Staff lives upstairs, and the gardening club handles the gardens behind it.”

At first glance, the building looked like a church – giving it a reason for the size, Luke supposed. But it was a bright yellow in color, and its tower-like front entrance was not, technically, a steeple.

“And here’s your student guide.” Cynara turned to gesture at a lovely young woman. The girl, nearly an adult, was stunning in a way Luke had seen rarely since his childhood. “This is Nehara cy’Doomsday. Nehara, this is Luca Hunting-Hawk, a former teacher of mine.”

Cy’Drake, Luke suddenly remembered, liked to play gamed. He bowed politely to the girl. “Pleased to meet you, miss.”

Next: Whilst at Doomsday…

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Friday Flash: Intelligent Life

Written to @ShingetsuMoon’s prompt (here but spoilers-ish) for Friday Flash

The machines started small on Earth, as they had on every planet so far.

They found the brightest, the cleverest, the most innovative – people and dolphins, elephants and corvids, apes and chimps. They picked them off, one by one or in groups.

A smart guy dies in Oxford and a grifter dies in New York City, who’s going to make the connection? A murder of ravens goes missing – who notices? An elephant at least makes a stink when she falls dead.

They noticed the dolphins first – but it was a group of researchers who noted it, and they weren’t far behind. Then the chimps, signing “help us, help us,” until the virus destroyed their brain.

The virus was the machines’ primary weapon – it ate brain cells, was tolerably target-able, and was not known to any surviving human researchers (since they’d stolen it from their first victim & obliterated his notes). But they used bullets, where that would not cause a stir; they used knives, where nobody would notice; they used electric shocks that stopped the hearts and knew they’d already killed off the smart morticians.

It took them twenty-five years, but these machines were patient. It had taken them a week on the planet called Belji(click)ton, sure, but on Martinach, it had taken over a century. They had time.

By late 2015, there was not a human left on the planet who could make change for a twenty without a calculator. The dolphins that were left thought they were fish. The monkeys – best not to talk about the monkeys, and the apes had been, as a precautionary measure, completely wiped out.

The machines surveyed their work and, contented, left. They were, after all, only ordered to destroy all intelligent life in the world.

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Please help me narrow down this tag to 5 or ten choices…

I have “write a more-please” on my writing list, but when it comes up, I often find myself paralyzed by choice. (This is not helpful for writing & directly in counter to the purpose of the list!)

Thus, I’m asking you guys to help me narrow it down. Pick one to three things you’d most like to see continued and comment here.

(For completests: I created a morepls: fulfilled tag for things I’ve, well, written more to, but I didn’t backlog. If you see something that needs the tag to be changed to “fulfilled,” either change the tag yourself or leave a comment on the post that I should change it.)

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New Writing Prompt Site: Thimbleful Thursdays

Thimbleful Thursday will post a writing prompt (usually an idiom) each Thursday, along with a wordcount goal between 100 & 500 words.

The goal is to write a fic within the next week featuring the prompt in some way – inspired by, taking the idiom literally, twisting it on its head, your choice – and staying within 10% of the wordcount goal (for example, between 180 & 220 for the 200-word weeks, between 450 & 550 for the 500-word weeks, and so on).

I’m pretty excited about it, but, then again, it’s my site. 😉

Check it out!

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K Orion Fray’s Inspiration Wednesday: Mountains, Gandalf!

The Writer-Moving-Out-of-My-Attic has posted a lovely Inspiration Wednesday post:

But what if you’re absolutely feeling burnt out and desperately need away from it all?

…Well, it sounds to me like you need a vacation. You need to have an adventure.

It’s a nice one, and one I plan to try.

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Going to Learn How to be A Samurai: continuation of Doomsday Academy for the Giraffe Call/@inventrix

To [personal profile] inventrix‘s commissioned continuation of Gonna Be a Samurai.

Austin was going to be a samurai.

He was going to a samurai school, and he was going to have a samurai teacher, and he was going to learn how to be a samurai.

“It says in the letter that they gives you a full education, Austin. Math, science, history, literature, life skills. I wonder what they mean by life skills?” His mother shook her head. “Nothing about being a samurai.”

“But you saw him! You saw Professor Inazuma!”

“And I saw Director Doomsday. I must say, that’s an ominous name for the head of a school.”

“Wasn’t there a note on that, too?” The welcome letter had come with quite a stack of welcome-information, including a small bio on each of the teachers. “She was… what’s a prepper?”

“Something from the before world. But that’s okay, she’s probably from the before world, too.” Austin’s mother shook her head yet again. “Are you sure you want to do this, Austin? I don’t think it’s going to be all samurai training.”

“I don’t care! I’m going to be a samurai! Please, mom? Please? I’ll work extra hard all summer!”

“Well, let me talk to your father…”

Austin was going to be a samurai.

He looked at dismay at the uniforms available. “But what about hakama and kimono?” Kilts and pants and plain white shirts were so boring. Especially compared to Professor Inazuma’s clothes… “Do I have to wear boring clothes?”

“Austin, they’ve nice clothes. Don’t be rude.”

“We have kimono.” The nice lady behind the uniform counter smiled at both of them. It took Austin a moment to realize that that was Principal Doomsday, the head of the school. The weasel ears had thrown him off for a moment.

So had the strange smile. She continued, as if unaware of the panicked surprise on Austin’s face. “That’s one of the things I actually did prepare for. Here are your kimono,” she added a hefty stack of black, just like Professor Inazuma’s, to Austin’s pile of uniform clothes. “And Miss Ascha is waiting for you over there.”

Austin was going to be a samurai.

He was going to be a samurai, even if he had to take classes in math and reading – some of the kids here couldn’t even read! – and how plants grew, and poetry. Even if he had to share a room with girls – and other boys, including the ones that couldn’t read. Even if everyone else thought this school was about growing up to be a teacher or learning how to be a doctor or even, in Sianna’s case, a silly ballerina. (Were there even ballerinas anymore? At least they knew teachers still existed!)

He was going to be a samurai, after eight years of classes and then, Professor Inazuma told him, maybe more classes still. But he could start learning right away, not just the math and reading and farming and stuff, but really learning.

“I’m going to be a samurai,” he informed Sianna. And he got to start today!

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The Goat Legacy

To [personal profile] kelkyag‘s prompt(s).

::You know how to do this. You know how to win this.::

“So does everyone else here.” Liezhta strapped the talking stick to her back – talking stick, ha, her ancestors had possessed a horrible sense of humor – and tried to ignore its whispers.

It didn’t work, of course. Ever since her aunt had passed down the family goat-crook (and what family had goat-crooks they passed down? Liezhta’s of course, the family that produced more goat-wives and goat-husbands than any other three families on the mountain), ever since she’d first wrapped her hand around the ancient, twisted root-wood stick, the blasted thing had been talking in her head.

::You have several advantages that nobody else here has. One, you have me.::

It turned out the stick was an ancestor – or, at least, that was what it claimed. There was a family member named Ketkez or Ketkezhie, long back in the history, who had been, not a goat-spouse, but a herder and breeder of goats nonetheless. And, if such a thing was possible, the few notes in family records suggested Ketkez/hie was the type of person who would, given an option, live forever to nag their descendants.

::In another sense, you also have me; you have the blood passed down to you. Your family. You’re strong, fast, and clever::

“But I’m working with an unknown team. It’s only me from the family.” Liezhta checked the lacings on her boots, checked the braiding on her hair, and settled her hat snugly over everything. She’d have to stop arguing with a talking stick soon, and get on with it.

::And that’s a pity. In the old days, the whole family would compete, and we almost always won::

“Well. This is the new days.” With the way things were going, they might not even need goat-wives much longer. But for today, there was the race. She waved at the others, gathered by the shallow sledge. “Hello.” Liezhta bowed, while in her head Ketkez/hie grumbled about changing times. “I’m Liezta, and I’ll be your third runner in the human goat race today.”

Goat-bride information: here & here.

Information Liezhta does not have, but is useful for setting here.

Liezhta is pronounced LEEZH-tuh.

ZH stands for the buzzy sound of the “s” in our words “pleasure” or “casual”.

Ketkez/hie is pronounced ket-KEZH-(ee)

A root-wood shepherd’s (goat-herd’s) crook might look like this

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Other Soldiers, Other Fates

[A story of Reiassan taking place at the same time as the Rin & Girey story]

The war had ended.

Hiron was sure of that much.

The war had ended, the papers had been signed, and the camps were packing up.

And the prisoners were being packed up, Hiron included, pushed and prodded and poked into a long line, chained ankle-to-ankle and wrist-to-wrist. Hiron didn’t bother fighting as the legionnaire came to add him to the line. What good was it, when the country he was fighting for was gone? At least it didn’t look like he was going to be killed.

“This one’s mine.” The hand that grabbed Hiron’s wrist was as hard and sword-calloused as his own; the voice had the rough gravelly-whisper sound that only throat injuries gave, and the uniform was field-worn but clean. The chin was strong but, strangely for the Calenyen, beardless. Hiron got that much in the first glance; the first listen also told him the soldier’s accent was, as his commander had said, “field not tent.”

“Tribune?” The legionnaire paused, shackles hanging over Hiron’s wrist. “They’re going up North.” At least, Hiron was pretty sure that’s what he said. The Calenyena language was tongue-twisting and throat-biting.

The clink of coins passing hands was unmistakable in any language, however. “This one’s mine,” the tribune repeated. “I’ll take him now.”

“Tribune.” The legionnaire gave Hiron a little push. “Here, you.” He used the field-Bitrani most of the Calenyena soldiers had picked up. “Go with her.”

/Her?/ Hiron took another look at the Tribune. They all had braids, they all wore the same uniforms. But that beardless chin… Hiron swallowed. The Tribune patted him on the shoulder. “You’re pretty,” she told him, in mangled field-Bitrani. “You’ll do just fine.”