Archive | March 2015

“A Meeting and an Education” posted on Patreon

A Meeting and an Education, the story of Zizny & Cxaidin meeting, has been posted on Patreon, free for everyone to read.

The hunters had been trying the mountain again and so sentries were being posted. Zizny was young and junior and so had pulled more than a fair share of sentry duty, but tek found that it was not so burdensome as all that. For one, tek generally got to spend most of the day lounging in the sun, watching the birds fly by. For another, tek occasionally got a chance to meet interesting beings.

read on!

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I’d gotten used to my children bringing home friends by the time Jin was in high school. Junie was a little socialite, even in kindergarten, but Jin – Jin was a one-child rescue wagon. He brought home stray dogs, stray erbiss, lost pixies – his entire 7th grade year had been devoted to creating an elaborate dollhouse for a family of Tinies…

Continued here; a Patronage of just $1/month will let you read all Patron-only posts!

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A Beginning

Written to Rix_scaedu‘s question here: Who were Agmund Fridmar’s parents and who was his Mentor?


Artyom looked to his father, to his mother, and back to his father. Neither of them had shown any surprise when, four weeks ago, Artyom had woken in the middle of the night to find himself a cubit taller and four hand-spans wider. “Aren’t you a great bear,” Artyom’s father had said, but he’d been smiling. Artyom’s mother had just said “I’ll write to Magnus.”

Magnus, it appeared, was a Norseman a hand-span again taller than Artyom and quite a bit broader. He had bowed deeply to Artyom’s mother and called her Star-Catcher, a name Artyom had never heard before. His bow to Artyom’s father had been polite but much less deep, and he’d called him Gospodin Ivanov.

Artyom’s mother was not a gentle person, but she was using her soft voice now, the one she used for hard things. “Artyom, this is Magnus, called the Winter Hound, and he will be your Mentor. He fought by my side, in the days when we were warriors.”

There was a story there, Artyom knew it. But there was also no room for argument in his mother’s voice. “Gospodin Winter Hound,” he said, instead of arguing, and bowed deeply. He’d always known he might have a Mentor, if things turned out one way or another. It seemed gaining a cubit in height was one way for things to turn out.

“It will be a long voyage, young warrior. Say goodbye to your parents now, and, should all be well, you will be saying hello to them in some years as a new person.”

Artyom nodded again. There was no point, he could tell, in saying that he didn’t want to leave, that he had no wish to be a new person. Things had been decided. He bowed to his mother and to his father. “Good-bye,” he said. His voice cracked, but he ignored it and, politely, so did they. “I will return.”

His mother’s hand landed hard on his shoulder. “You will return to us, my son. Go now into the hands of your Mentor, and may the gods guide your steps.”

Artyom turned to the gigantic Magnus. “Sir. I am yours to teach.”

see obsolete Russian units of measure.

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World/Character-Building Fun Prompt Call – Dragons Next Door, Addergoole/Doomsday, Reiassan/Edally

I had so much fun writing the four world/character/storybuilding stories yesterday that I want to do more! 🙂

But I’m still really busy with Sekret Projeckt. 🙁

So! No promises I’ll get to any of these, much less all of them, but here goes:

For Addergoole/Doomsday/FaeApoc, Dragons Next Door, or Reiassan/Edally, ask me any world/character building question that can be answered in fiction form.

For example: How did Akatil end up at Addergoole (I’ve already answered that one, short form), Where did Aud go to school? (another one already answered ;-)… I think you get the idea.

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A Job Offer, a story of Doomsday Academy

“You tore the city down?” Ric’s voice was the tone usually used for discovering someone had murdered a pile of babies.

The woman in front of him held up both hands placatingly. “We took pictures. We took pictures of everything and I used a flyer to get photos from the air. And everything written was saved and put in the library. There’s some artifacts you might find interesting in our museum – that is, if you take the job.”

They were back to the job again. “Why me?” Ric frowned. The woman spread her hands in an expressive shrug; Ric plowed on. “I mean, you said that your power could find anything. I can understand that.” Finding your missing pen didn’t register as all that strange; Ric, it seemed, could grant wishes. “But why me? There have to be plenty of teachers in the world, even Ellehemaei teachers – even teachers from Addergoole.”

For a split second, it seemed as if the woman was blushing. She coughed and looked away. “I know your father.”

“…that’s nice. I mean, I don’t.” He’d met his father – four times now, if his count was right. That was different from knowing him.

“I Kept your father. I’ve Kept quite a few people, over the years. One a year, more or less, since my second year. So… quite a few.”

Ric’s mother had been Twelfth Cohort, his father something earlier. He’d lost track of the years, but he was pretty sure they were somewhere in the late 30’s or early 40’s of Cohorts now. If this woman was older than his father… “That’s quite a few Kept. So, again… why me?”

“Well, ‘child of someone I’ve Kept, who happens to have the skills I need, might be interested in the job, and could benefit from it’ – that’s a pretty refined search to start with. And I mayyyy have,” she dragged the word out, and again Ric thought he might see a blush, “limited it to only a few of those Kept. My favorites, as it were.”

“That’s a pretty specific power you have.”

“I’ve pushed its limits. I like pushing its limits.” She smiled brightly. “You don’t have to answer today, you know.” Her smile slipped easily back into a professional expression.

“You brought a teleporter today.”

“Well,” she looked back to where her teleporter was waiting, reading a book and seeming to pay them no mind, “he does make things easier.”

Ric looked her over again. She was clean, her (dyed-red) hair, her fingernails, her clothes. Her clothes looked new, too, brightly colored and with no patches or thin spots anywhere. She looked rich. “Does this job pay?”

She grinned at him, as if she knew she had him. Well, she probably did. “That all depends on what currency you want to get paid in.”

Ric is Athanaric; he is the son of Hroderich, who I don’t see in any stories except as a mention (Cya Kept him directly before Pellinore. Hroderich is a grandson of Aelfgar (as is Howard; Leo is Aelfgar’s son; Aelgifu is his daughter… Aelfgar has a lot of kids…)

Also new Djinni Icon!

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The Storm Will Come

Set c. 1829, written in response to cluudle‘s question on the last story.

It is possible Regine would never have noticed the woman.

She was a half-breed beggar, sitting in the halls of the mighty because the humans would not have her, or so Regine assumed. She was skinny, wretched, and here, here in the stronghold of the Grigori in America, she was un-Masked, her doggy ears flapping and her doggy tail twitching under her skirt.

Regine dropped her a dollar, because she could spare it, and then another dollar, for Falk, and would have thought nothing else of it, except that the wretched woman tugged at her skirt.

“Lady, there are things you must know.”

“There are many things I must know.” Her father was already walking on ahead. She knelt down to look at the woman, intrigued despite herself. The half-breed reached out and grabbed Regine’s hand with both of her own. She blinked, and her eyes were white, with lightning in them.

“The storm is coming, Lady of the Lake. The waters will rise and all will be flooded out. All will burn, all will die. The storm is coming, Lady, the fathers are coming back. And everything will be destroyed.”

“Regine! Regine, what are you doing? You are going to be late to the meeting.”

“I am sorry, Father.” She was thirty years old. She was married, with a young child of her own. She let her father take her hand as if she were a toddler, the storm in the half-breed’s eyes still flashing in her mind.

“I don’t know why we let those half-breed mutts in here anyway…” her father was muttering.

“Because the storm is coming, Father.” The truth was as clear to her as day, as sudden as lightning. “And we will need them.”

Her father did not listen, of course. But that was all right. She would find those who would.

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A Vision to Purchase

Set ~1890, in response to a conversation with cluudle last night.

Content notes: this includes allusions to some of the most awful stuff in the Addergoole ‘verse, but mostly in passing.

She was living in a cabin in the swamp.

It suited her; away from people she saw less, felt less. Also, she was still a fur-taker, would always be one, and that was a trade best plied alone. A man came once a month – he took the furs and skins and things, and brought her food and clothing and such.

Today was not that day. She grew a little fuzzy on the passage of time, true, but the moon had been full when he’d come last, and it was only a half-moon now. And yet there was a boat bumping against her dock.

The fur-taker threw on pants and her favorite shirt, soft and worn, the cuffs stained, but so comfortable. She had fancy clothes, but she did not dress fancy for uninvited guests.

She was “decent” enough by the time the delicate knock came at her door, and flung said door open with a dramatic woosh.

There was a woman standing on the fur-taker’s porch. She was dressed tidily, expensively, in a smooth dress that was just a little too sleek to be fashionable. She had, the fur-taker noted with approval, put on thick boots in defiance of fashion and deference to sense. Beyond her, a man waited in a sturdy row-boat.

She was, the fur-taker noted, a beautiful woman, blonde, clear-skinned, with a firm set to her chin and an equally determined set to her shoulders. She cleared her throat. “Are you the one they call the Skin-Taker?”

The fur-taker waited. This was her home. It was not up to her to identify herself first.

The woman coughed twice. “My name is Regine; I am called the Lady of the Lake.”

Nobody the fur-taker had heard of. But she’d done the proper thing, so she got a nod. “I’m the Skin-Taker.” This seemed like a social visit; she hesitated and added, “my father named me Chantal.”

“‘Stony’ and ‘song’.” The woman nodded. “They say that your name fits you.”

The fur-taker smiled sharply. She had shaped her teeth to points, herbivorous Change be damned. “Both names do.” To the woman’s credit, she didn’t flinch. “Come in, if you mean me and mine no harm.”

“I mean you no harm at all.” The woman took the invitation and stepped into the fur-taker’s cabin. “I come simply to consult. They say you are the best seer that has ever been.”

The fur-taker nodded her head. “That has been said.”

“I come to commission a seeing from you.”

Chantal closed her eyes. “They come at a high price.” Out here, she did not have to touch people, to see the future. Out here, there were only the small futures of deer and weasels and other such things.

“The price to not knowing is so much higher.” The woman’s voice broke. Chantal opened her eyes to surprise a brief moment of vulnerability on her visitor’s face. Not a Grigori, then, despite the loveliness. They were never vulnerable. “I have brought… some things. And I will send more with your man every month for ten years, if you perform a seeing for me.” She pulled a parcel from her bag; the smell of cheese wafted to Chantal’s nose. And – she sniffed deeply – yes, gunpowder and… cardamom. And as the woman opened the package, she saw salt and the glint of steel: one steel knife, and a new pistol, the style strange to her eyes.

She nodded crisply. “This is a good price,” she agreed. Her mouth was watering; it had been some time since she’d tasted cheese like that. “I will need to touch you.”

Some cringed at that. She was not particularly clean, living in the swamp, and she looked dirtier than she actually was. This woman put out her lily-white hand without hesitation.

Chandra closed her eyes and took the hand. Images flashed through her mind, pushing, forcing their way out. She gasped, forcing herself not to release the other woman’s hand. “The end will come,” she was singing now, always singing. “Those gone will come. The stars will come; children will come.” She shook her head, clearing the song. “It is coming, Lady of the Lake. The fire.”

“Yes. And after?”

After. “After?” The question prompted new images. “Death comes hard and slow, scours high and low. Rips the life away, steals the child away.” Again, she shook her head like a cat, clearing the images. “It will be hard. There may not be many left at all.”

“And if I go through with my plan?”

Plan? Again, the images pushed at Chantal. She opened her mouth, but nothing but a moan came out. She tried again. “So many sad children. Dead children, crying children, broken children.”

“And the rest?” The woman’s voice was implacable, unshakable.

Chantal’s vision cleared. She opened her eyes, confused, unhappy, but at the same time… “They thrive. The world ends, and they strive. The cities fall; they’re alive. The fires burn – they survive.” She spoke no more.

She didn’t need to. The woman nodded, sadly, it seemed. “Then I will do it. Thank you, Skin-Taker. Your payments will come as promised.”

Chantal waited until the woman had left, until the boat was out of sight. She picked from the package of payment a small bottle of scotch. Square and heavy, it did not seem to suit the woman who had just been here.

But at the moment, it suited Chantal just fine. She drank, sips at first and then gulps, until the sight of the sobbing, bloody girl had been scrubbed from her mind.

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Tweets about Reiassan Food, preserved for posterity




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A Random Blog Post

So, I tried this, and wrote to the first suggestion I got!

Write about a teacher.

Okay, first, a real teacher. Or a series of them. I don’t remember much about my school teachers, but certain moments stick out. Mr. Lynd, who taught Global Studies, Really Liked Japan. A lot. My 5th grade Social Studies teacher Really Liked Hawaii. A lot. It led to a certain amount of tuning them out, which means I know about the slippers thing for Japan and ah, pineapples for Hawaii. And that’s about it.

Actually, it was really hard to engage in history/world studies classes, and I don’t know why. I’m fascinated by those subjects now – why wasn’t I back then? Then again, I’ve always learned history best when looked at through a lens of fiction…

Real teachers were a long time ago for me. The fictional ones are a bit more recent, but some of them have traits borrowed from various real teachers.

Instructor Pelnyen, in Edally Academy, reminds me a bit of teachers I’ve had who thought I wasn’t living up to my potential. If I took some time to get into Kaatzie’s head, he’d be a lot more like my high school Physics teacher.

Kairos, in Addergoole Year 9, will end up being like my Social Problems professor, Darwin Davis. And as for the rest of them in Addergoole – To be honest, other than Mike, Reid, and Luke, I’m still working on developing personalities for them 6 years later. Pelletier and Valerian suffer the most from this, but many of the others are very thin indeed.

Somehow, the first time I was writing Addergoole, they seemed very secondary to the whole school experience. *cough* I wonder what that says about my IRL teachers?

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A piece of post-apoc fae-apoc that popped into my head

The thing was, certain things they’d had to figure out right away. Food, potable water – even in places near a grocery store, the store only had so much stock on hand, and no more was coming in.

Shelter was relatively easy – there were a lot more houses and other buildings than there were people, now, even if you did take into consideration those buildings ruined by the war, of which there were many. But protection from the threats of the world – monsters sentient and not, cold and rain and snow, storms and fire and bears and lions – that took work. And when that was all managed, people worked hard on forming community, on rebuilding society, and stocking up enough food to survive lean times and enough weapons to keep the food.

Clothes were not remotely a priority. Most people in 2011 in the developed world had far more clothes than they needed. If durable clothes were an issue, well, there were stores to raid and, if you weren’t squeamish, or if you were desperate, which was similar, there were the homes of people who were dead or gone.

Eventually the clothes they had wore out, the clothing left in old buildings had rotted away or been eaten by the rodents. And by then, those that had survived had houses and food, security and society. Now… they needed cloth.

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