Archive | October 2015

The Kraken of World/Story Development, part Four: Technology (For Into Lannamer)

I found this thing: and I’m gonna play with it because I’m finding it instructional!

The technology in Reiassan is at roughly height-of-the-Roman-empire.

They have steel; primary weapons is a sword similar to a gladius.

Points of interest: saddles have stirrups, and are between a western saddle and an English – wider, heavier than an English but without the large pommel horn.

Items of tech needed in various scenes:
Tents (mostly ridge-style)
Chains! Chains, shackles, but an older style and a newer style.
Clothing (narrow loom), button-making (carving knives), metal casting

Bridges and barges, Erie-style goat-pulled and… hrrm. Not sure how else they get back UP the rivers. Bridge-building technology was a priority.

Mountain pass carving: how do they do that?

Building construction – so stonecutting, since they have very little wood in the mid-north.

They heat by mostly coal, bog peat and red sira; they use scrub wood and the wind-blasted bushes as fuel as well, since they’re not very good for lumber. They have mastered a well-drafting chimney; many houses and public spaces use a hypocaust-style heating system.

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(Sha-la-la-la-la-la) Don’t be scared, a ficlet of Doomsday Academy

She’d been doing well enough at hiding for so long. It seemed unfair.

Ruth had been at Doomsday for five years and was working on her sixth when the “transfer student” arrived.

Everyone else seemed to have seen the new girl before Ruth did. She heard the whispers in her first-hour class, straight-out speculation by third hour, and brand new rumors by lunchtime.

It wasn’t until her last class that she saw her, though. Tall and lovely, dark skin and full lips and little horns sticking out through her long dark hair. Tófa. Ruth smiled and shook her hand, bowed and welcomed her to Doomsday. Those were the polite things to do. Those were the right things to do. Not… not what she wanted to do.

Doomsday had been an adjustment for her, right from the first. There were fae everywhere, tolerated and – more than tolerated – accepted. The woman who ran the school was a fae! Almost all their teachers were fae! Her mother – who had moved to Cloverleaf to be near Ruth – had told her to “be patient, and all will be revealed in the fullness of time.”

…and the fullness of Tófa’s lips…. no. No.

Doomsday was far more open than her home, as was Cloverleaf. Her mother seemed to adjust quickly to the permissive culture: The women and men working in the same spaces, the lack of chaperons or morality-guardians or even just priests. Ruth had felt quietly ashamed for weeks as she learned she not only would have classes with boys – and taught by male teachers, male FAE! – but that she would dorm with them, in the same big room.

But it wasn’t boys that were the problem. If the morality-guardians knew what she was thinking now…

Her own Change, painful and slow and butterfly-beautiful, had not been so shattering as the thoughts she had kept quietly to herself. She knew she was wrong, but it didn’t feel wrong. She couldn’t go home again anyway, not like this. Not fae. She wasn’t sure she would choose to go back to the priests and the chaperons, even if she didn’t look like the demons in their books.

And if she was never going home, the morality-guardians and their nightsticks would never be a problem. And her mother… her mother was becoming far more tolerant, living in Coverleaf, than Ruth had ever thought possible.

But her teachers, her peers… Ruth swallowed and looked around. They allowed so much, but would they allow…. would they truly allow her…

“Well, what are you waitin’ for?” Professor Sweetflower leaned over Ruth, whispering in her ear. “Kiss the girl, darlin’.”

Doomsday is part of Fae Apoc and has a landing page here. Ruth and Tófa are new characters.

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The Kraken of World/Story Development, part Three: Money (For Into Lannamer)

I found this thing: and I’m gonna play with it because I’m finding it instructional!

Sidetrack- Army Ranks
Of 7.2 million on the continent, about 4.8 million are Calenyena. Of those, about 480,000 are active in the army.

Leaf, rank-one
Double, Squad Leader (Squad of Nine)
Trefoil, Ride Commander (9 squads – 90 soldiers)
Starred, Fist commander (9 rides – 819 soldiers)
kalōkāt, War Leader (9 Fists – 7380 soldiers)
calenkat, Army Leader (9 Wars – 66,429 soldiers)
Emperor, leader of the Forces (Up to 9 armies – currently 7,465,010 soldiers)

jot down two to three sentences about the economic aspect of the setting.

Cafangnia is on the major river (Velka Ree in Calenyen) and, before the assault and occupation by the Calenyena, it was a major trade hub for the Bitrani. It was an affluent city, one of the richest in the nation, and also – because of its proximity to the Calenyena – one of the best defended.

At the time of the story, it had been fairly thoroughly plundered. Anyone who had the wherewithal to leave has long since left. Its remaining defenses have been taken over by the Calenyena.

The border territories have very little permanent agriculture and few permanent structures, at least on any travel route. Deep in the mountains, far off the river or the roads, some people live; others live just far enough off the road and the river to not be seen or easily found, not be bothered by soldiers or by deserters. Many of those people are bandits, and they are tolerated by the others so long as they take their cut only from travelers, and leave enough for the trading stations to plunder more legally.

There are former towns along both river and road. There have been long periods of peace before, and the Calenyena and the border Bitrani build in stone. Sometimes, a group who lives further back in the mountains will take up residence in a town when the army is passing through, just long enough to sell them wares.

On a separate piece of scratch paper, jot down two or three sentences about the economic background of every character who appears or lives in that city or country.

Characters encountered in this section include:

Bek and Torie, prisoner guards:

A career rank-1, Torie has made herself comfortable on her soldier’s wage by supplementing it with gambling, trading, and small plunder. She has an upscale tent, a nice brazier, her own goat, a very nice bedroll, and enough money and plunder squirreled away to perhaps set up a tavern, but only if she got a bit of financial help.

Bek has only been a soldier a few months. He comes from a goat-breeder’s family – hard work but profitable – but is only pulling basic soldier’s wages so far. He owns his own goat and that’s about it.

The Prisoners:

Some of these were farmers, some the equivalent of serfs; some were officers, one dukes, several landed noblemen. Right now, they have had everything they were carrying seized; their land is likely to be grabbed by the invaders. The difference between serf and duke right now is the quality of the clothes they’re wearing – and their potential fate.

The Calenyena spying on them:

Is a mid-ranked weasel who is good at collecting favors. They wear much of their wealth (as the Calenyena and many originally nomadic people tend to) and could comfortably buy a small plot of land and house with what they carry/possess.

Exiting check-point and another unit:
These go from basic rank-1 soldiers who own their clothing (three changes of clothes, two changes of boots), and, if they’re lucky, their goat, all the way up to a Fist Commander who has at least 7 changes of clothing and enough salary to own a decent house when they leave. A Fist Commander owns their own goat and a remount/pack animal, and has a tent big enough for comfort.


a fortified piece of property, several goats, enough food to get through a long winter. Individually, they often own gee-gaws and jewelry or trinkets given to them or traded to them by passing soldiers. They are not affluent, but they survive well enough.


Mid-ranked soldier in the special forces, outside of a squad or Ride and directly serving a fist commander. They are decently paid, enough to rent a decent place in a city for a year when they leave the army, three-four changes of clothing.

Variance runs from:

Owns nothing at all, not even themselves

Owns enough to survive, even it by scratching by

Owns enough for comfort

Owns enough for comfort and some luxury

Almost all of these people, however, have a slightly to much greater comfort level because of family and/or community; see Rin’s earnings as a mid-ranked healer vs. her family wealth, Bek’s rank-one salary vs. his family’s goat-wealth.

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The Black Bean, the beginning of something Unicorn/Factory

In Shandel’s village, the girls – the ones who were not yet old enough, the ones who had not been chosen – they spoke of going down to the river in nervous giggles, the way they would sometimes speak of a future husband, or a woman they thought particularly clever or pretty. The grandmothers, the old women, the ones that chose, spoke of it in slow tones, like an honor, or in brusque ones, like a chore. The women who had gone down and survived did not speak about it at all.

It was a surprise to many when the black bean came to Shandel at the harvest fair. She was quiet, so quiet some thought her simple. She was strange-looking, such that people would sometimes look at her mother sidelong, for while nobody questioned a first child who looked a bit strange, pointed ears or glowing foreheads, Shandel was her mother’s third child, though the first to live past infancy, and furthermore, her mother had never gotten the black bean in her dish. She had a gentle touch, and followed the village doctor around like a shadow. If she was not simple, perhaps she would be the next doctor. None of these things were normal in the one who would go to the river.

But the bean was passed by chance. Chance, even if the old ladies were very good at putting the bean where it needed to be. And because the village held true to that, they did not look very closely at the old ladies, who were as confused as the rest of the village. Only Shandel was not surprised, and those that noticed that assumed once more that she was a little simple, a little slow. Especially if they noticed her smile.

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Being Not Human, a ficlet of the Fae Apoc

Set in the middle of the apocalypse.

Warning: it’s a bit dreary (It’s set in the middle of an apocalypse), and involves discussion of violence and violent death.

In the wreckage of a building, someone screamed.

Tasha pulled her hood up and kept walking.

She could help them. She and Arden had been helping people, and then someone had grabbed Arden. They’d tried to get him away, but the grabber had a gun, and all they had was…

She looked down at her fingers. They seemed to flicker: fingertips, claws, fingertips, claws. One claw was ripped clean off, and both fingertip and claw looked bloody.

She’d tried to help someone else, after she’d lost Arden. She’d lost control of her illusion-thingy for just a moment, just a heartbeat, and her would-be rescuee had flipped out. She’d gotten them mostly-unburied anyway, because she was trying hard not to be a monster.

Monster. Tasha looked back down at her claws. She’d watched another teenager like her – just another girl, maybe fifteen – start panicking when one of the invaders started throwing some sort of fireballs. It was panic-worthy, Tasha had to admit. The first one she’d seen shooting lightning from their fingertips had freaked her out.

And, just like had happened when Tasha saw the lightning lady, the girl’s body started changing. Horns, tail, and the girl was screaming in pain. That stuff hurt.

But Tasha had been in the wreck of her classroom, alone. This girl had been in the middle of a crowd of humans.

Humans. They’d killed her in seconds, beaten a girl to death while she was scared and confused. Humans.

The scream sounded in the wreckage again. Tasha hesitated. She couldn’t save them.

She couldn’t not save them.

She was trying hard not to be a monster.

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Let No Man Set Asunder, a story of the Aunt Family for Patreon Patrons

Now I’m not saying this is how it happened, and I’m not saying it didn’t happen that way. If you look at the journals for that day, you don’t see anything that interesting. But a few tipsy whispers say otherwise.


Asta’s journal from this particular October, 1968:

Attended Corina’s wedding to a lovely young man – Anthony.

Met a wonderful woman, Anthony’s great-grandmother Margaret. Shall have to get together with her sometime to exchange recipes – and perhaps knitting patterns.

There was a bit of a scuffle at the wedding –

(read on…)

For just $1, you can read all the Patreon stories!

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The Kraken of World/Story Development, part Two: Conflict (For Into Lannamer)

I found this thing: and I’m gonna play with it because I’m finding it instructional!


The conflict in Into Lannamer is three-tiered.

Primary is the conflict between Rin & Girey: She wants to save his life; he wants to return to freedom in the south.

Secondarily is the conflict between Rin/Girey and everyone who wants to stop them from going somewhere – or anywhere.

On the same level as this but separate is the weather. They leave the south in the middle of the rainy season and will end up in the north in the cold season. The weather’s going to be an issue.

This conflict comes about because the two nations have been at war longer than there have been nations, because Girey is very full of himself, because Rin is very bad at explaining herself and not interested in negotiation, because they both have meaning to their respective people & enemies beyond the meaning they have to themselves. Rin wants a project; Girey just wants to go home, even if home doesn’t exist anymore.

No, seriously. Outline your story.”

Okay. 🙂 /goes off to do that/

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