Archive | January 21, 2016

Coming to School

Written to [personal profile] inventrix‘s prompt

Mike hadn’t done many of these new student pick-ups – Luke didn’t quite trust him to be adult about it, and he didn’t have the travelling resources that, say, Laurel did – but Tzivyah’s extended, adoptive family were friends of his from his wild days in the seventies and eighties, and the girl herself was a strange case. There hadn’t been a peep on Shira’s radar, to the point where they’d thought that she wouldn’t Change at all without serious prodding, not a whisper from either of the sensitives they employed in the Village, and then all three of them, at once, had come to Regine’s office. Yesterday. Pounding on the door. Insisting that right now, right now someone had to go get Tzivyah.

When your clairvoyant, your clairsensitive and your precognitive agree that urgently, someone goes, right then.

Mike had enlisted the help of a teleporter to drop him outside of town. It was a risk – everyone was very touchy about fae right now, and teleportation was very obviously fae – but Shira had been breathing down his neck so badly he’d thought she might end up getting carried along in the teleport.

Ten feet away from the drop spot, he understood why. Screams were echoing through the small farm community, screams and shouts and pleas. Mike broke into a run. He should have brought Luke. He should have brought Shira. He should have brought an army.

He had himself. The screaming was too far away, and yet it was too close. His skin crawled. Humans could be awful, awful people sometimes – people could be awful people. Mike had broken into a run before he knew it.

Too far, too far. He muttered one Working after another, making himself faster, tougher. He could get there. He had to get there. The screaming was only getting louder and more intense. Someone was panicking, someone was in pain. Not the same someone, probably.

He skidded into a clearing between three buildings. The noise was unbearably loud here, something like twenty people gathered together and all of them panicking. The last time he’d been here, there’d been a quiet fireside orgy going no. Now…

He pulled himself up to his current full height, muttered a Working to deepen his voice a bit, and borrowed Luke’s best teacher voice. “What is going on here?”

He was only a little surprised when it worked. Four people stood up, two worried and reaching for weapons, the other two looking for someone to fix things. He recognized one of them as Tzivyah’s adoptive father.

“Can you help? Someone has to help, please. Make them stop. Make it stop.”

Mike walked towards them with a brusque stride he’d borrowed from Luke. “What’s the problem?”

Tzivyah’s father – Donald, his name was Donald – and the other concerned-looking man began pushing and cajoling the crowd out of the way. “This is Mike Linden-Flower,” Donald explained. “He knows about this sort of thing. He can help.”

“‘Knows about this sort of thing.’” The weapon-wielder on the left was snarling and unimpressed. “You mean he’s one of them.”

Donald raised his chin in defiance. “No. I mean he’s always been one of us. And he knows about this sort of thing. She’s hurting. And they’re…”

Mike’s stomach twisted. Three women were holding down another woman, a young woman that had to be Tzivyah. A fourth was leaning over her with a saw. “What the hell?” he shouted.

The woman with the saw stood up. “They’re hurting her. And they’ll kill her. The horns, the protrusions, they’re causing her pain. And if we don’t cut them off, those people, people out there, they’ll kill her.”

Mike muttered under his breath, both swearing at the madness of people and making himself stronger. “So you’d maim her, torture her? No.” He scooped the girl up in his arms. “Hang in there, kiddo,” he murmured, just loud enough for her to hear. She had bony protrusions coming out everywhere, and the ones that had been cut were leaking ichor. “I’m going to get you somewhere safer, and help you deal with this, okay?”

He waited only long enough for a tiny nod before raising his voice for the crowd. “She is coming with me. And nobody is going to stop me.”

There were benefits in being able to sway the mood of an entire mob. If later they told themselves that the devil had taken Tzivyah, that was fine. Tzivyah would have been taken, and she would be safe.

Mike cuddled her as carefully as he could, muttering Working after Working to heal her ills as he strode out of the village.

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Languary Day 16

Continuing from here…

Love is the irresistible desire…

Phothe [desire] [resist]udfeal [Love]

…to be irresistibly desired.

-elt, to be [verbed]

-ad, “-ly”

[desire]elt [resist]udfealad

Okay, now I get to see if I can do this.

Verb Object (Object adjective) (adverb) Subject (subject adjective)

[is] [desire irresistible desired irresistibly] [love]

Phothe [desire] [resist]udfeal [desire]elt [resist]udfealad [Love]

Okay, there’s only three words there.

Love.

Feph

desire, noncha

resist, totfa

….I need to noun a verb.

-am

Phothe noncham totfudfeal nonchelt totfudfealad Feph

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Changes and Adjustments

This comes after Retirement and Retirement 2, some 50 years after the Addergoole stories, and features two characters from those stories. It is written to [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s Prompt.

The wagon was small, and sometimes it felt more like a cage than a living space, a cage, and some awful test, the sort other people might have stressed about back in school.

Rozen had driven a wagon before, but he’d never gotten good at it; he had the Words to understand horses, but he’d never really practiced them. Kailani had taken a thoughtful look at him and said “here. You drive the first stretch. We’re taking this highway south, and we’re staying on the highway unless there’s an issue.”

“What if I don’t want to?” he’d grumbled, instead of “what if I don’t know how.”

She’d smiled placidly at him. “We all do things we don’t want to.”

He knew how to bully people, but he had no idea how to be Kept. Rozen had clucked to the horses and got them aimed with more trouble than he’d thought possible and, when they proved recalcitrant, muttered a Panida Working that spurred them on.

He felt like he was being spurred himself. Her orders were like thistles rubbing against his skin, goading him on, pushing him. Her calm, unflappable smile was weird and it made him twitchy. Kailani wasn’t calm. She wasn’t placid.

“What’s wrong with you?” he asked, finally, an hour out of the town she’d been living in. “You don’t look like you anymore.”

She ran her fingers through her hair – red again, that was a relief, not the white it had been when he’d been deposited on her doorstep – and hrrm’d. “I feel like me.” She smiled, a little mischief there he didn’t remember either. “Are you certain it’s me and not you?”

Rozen twitched. “I haven’t changed.”

“I find that interesting, actually. It’s been decades. Our grandchildren are grown adults and the world – the world has changed considerably. And yet, if I ran into you in the hallways of Addergoole, instead of the Rozen you were then, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

He shrugged. He knew his smile was lazy and a bit sharp. “You’d be surprised. You were always surprised when we ran into each other.”

“Frightened, Rozen. The word is frightened.” He stole a glance at her, but she was smiling. “You were quite scary. It was your job.”

“Haven’t changed,” he drawled. He didn’t know what it meant when she only smirked wider.

The wagon moved on, the world – such as it was now – moved under their wheels, and the woman he’d once wanted to Keep hummed cheerfully while she watched the scenery.

“The world’s changed,” he offered after a bit. “It ended, I guess.”

“The world we knew ended.” She looked sad for a moment. Rozen stomped on the surge of guilt he felt. He had not made that sadness. This was not his fault. “And you kept going.”
She made it sound like a complaint somehow. Rozen looked at her sidelong, trying to figure her out.

“You’re still here, too.” And young again. Being Kept by Ancient Kailani had been weird.

She smiled sadly. “If you ran into me in the halls of Addergole, as I am now, as you were then, what would you do, Rozen?”

The same thing, he wanted to say, but he couldn’t lie to her. He stared wordlessly at her instead.

Want more?

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Building The Apiary, a ficlet of Cya/Doomsday

This time, she didn’t do it by herself.

When she’d built Cloverleaf, she hadn’t been alone, not all the time. Her daughter Mai had “helped”, but Mai had been five years old, and there was only so much help even the most enthusiastic five-year-old could be. She’d brought in specialists, she’d called in favors, and she’d had company.

This time, she started by having cy’Underground survey and archive the area, pulling out anything that might possibly be of use to future generations and documenting the rest. She called in a team of people to break down the remaining bits of buildings, and another team to sort all of the bits into usable pieces.

She levelled the ground and raised the hill herself.

“The Apiary”, Leo had said, and a beehive it would be. But this was Cloverleaf’s project, not Doomsday’s, and that meant she wasn’t working alone.

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Sting Marydel and the Cliffs of Anterior, Part 3

Part one: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1049125.html
Part two: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1049392.html

The woman from “NABU” was pounding on Sting’s door. NABU, NABU. He pulled up a search window and flipped around. Nothing. The pounding was getting louder.

NABU, secret. ARMY. Right, he didn’t want to do this on brainware. He fired up his old-tech machine, conscious of the fact that he was doing this with secret Army people right outside of his door. There wasn’t technically anything wrong with looking up information incognito, except that it meant you had something to hide.

There was something a little closer to wrong with using the backalley searches he was about to use, but they weren’t quite illegal. They could do bad stuff to your brainware if you didn’t know what you were doing – and maybe even if you did – but that was different than illegal. Technically.

He plugged in a password, a second password, his authentication, and the pounding was still going on. It was disturbingly rhythmic, like a heartbeat, knock-knock, knock-knock. He ran a couple searches, Army, NABU, secret organizations within the Army…

“Woah, shit.” It took him four tries to get anything at all. What he found, he was half-convinced was a hoax. Sure, tech had improved a lot in the last decade, but for NABU to already be recruiting, if they were… It had to be a hoax. Someone had taken screen shots of mechs from some video game he hadn’t seen yet.

It was almost tempting… He turned off the old-tech, unplugged it, and put it back in the closet. The woman was still knocking on the door. He unlocked it and opened it again. “No.”

Her fist stopped in mid-air and fell to her side. “No?”

“No, not interested. I know I just turned eighteen but the whole point of a draft card is not the army shows up at your door.”

“But you don’t know what we’re offering yet.”

He was pretty sure he did. “Still not interested. Good-bye.”

Part Four: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1054666.html

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