Archive | May 26, 2016

The Expectant Wood, Chapter Three: The Slippery Stamen-End

Chapter One: Trouble at the Stamen
Chapter 2: The Stamen End

Chapter 3: The Slippery Stamen-End

Billow wasn’t screaming, or whining, or even whimpering. She was holding very still, slowly sliding towards the center of the stamen-bottom. Nimbus felt something tighten in her chest, but she didn’t have time for panic. She dropped to the ground, splaying her feet out and seeking some purchase, and reached for Billow.

She couldn’t quite reach, and if she moved any further forward she was going to end up on the wrong end of the slope.

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#ThimblefulThursday: Kangaroo Court

Thimbleful 1.png

They’d grabbed a couple barrels and a door to make a “bench”; they’d hung a curtain, or at least a ratty blanket, over the room to make a “private” courtroom, and they’d pulled in five people to witness, Carter Westcott to serve as judge, and Ardell Aspen to serve as prosecutor.

There was no defense. I wanted to say something about that; I was one of the witnesses, because I hadn’t moved away from the curtain quickly enough – me and four others who’d been loitering around, wondering what they were going to do with Barton after – well, after. But considering the mood of our little community of stragglers, I stayed quiet. I’ve regretted that for years. I didn’t want to end up there, where Barton was… but still.

The prosecutor read off charges. Barton could hardly say he wasn’t guilty – I mean, they’d gagged him, but that didn’t matter when he’d grown feet three times normal size and big furry ears – but they made some pretense that it was a court and not a murder.

If I’d only gotten to him before they’d found him, maybe I could have helped in. Instead, I stood witness to his “conviction” in the most half-assed trial I’d ever seen.

And his would not be the last I’d witness, either.

This is written to today’s Thimbleful Thursday prompt

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Buffy: the Invitation (an Addergoole Crossover), Part V

Part I:
Part II:
Part III:
Part IV:

“Who knew that vampires could be so stupid? I mean, obviously, vampires are often stupid, but is it me, or was that beyond the stupid? And then the look on that girl’s face, like you had just performed some sort of arcane act of killage…”

“Well, technically, she…”

“Clearly,” Giles cleared his throat, “I cannot allow you to go out unsupervised in a strange city.”

“Hello? Slayer.” Buffy glared at Giles from the back seat. She was feeling less than clear-headed after a very early morning had followed a rather late night. “When there are vampires, I slay them.”

“Indeed. And the part where you explained to the girl — what is it Xander said?”

“‘Vampire, suck blood, rawr. Wooden stake, heart, poof,’” Xander helpfully recited.

“Yes, that. You do remember that vampires are supposed to be secret?”

Buffy scoffed. “Come on, you can explain that stuff a hundred times to people and they never really get it. Next week, they’re all, like, ‘barbeque fork accident’ and ‘wild dog attack’ and going back out into the alleyways with mysterious strangers.”

“Well, in Sunnydale, yes. There has always been a strange Working — that is, a magic spell — tied to the Hellmouth there. It seems to make people forgetful, as you say. But we are no longer in Sunnydale, and such things are not nearly as thick. She may remember that there are vampires — or she may merely remember that a blonde girl told her some ridiculous things. Either way, we do not wish to leave a trail like a dotted line pointing from Sunnydale to Addergoole.”

“Guess that would be rude,” Buffy allowed. “‘Hi, new school. Look, all my enemies followed me.’ I guess then maybe they’d stop trying to enroll me.” She aimed a pointed look at the rear-view mirror.

Giles clucked. “Buffy, I know — I know the sort of people we’re dealing with here. Please do not attempt to convince them that you are not student material. Please do not attempt to convince them of anything at all. It will only lead to them being displeased without changing their mind one bit. It might even cause them to be more determined to enroll you.”

“Look, Giles, I don’t get the big. Get the Watcher Council involved if you have to. Nobody’s gonna let me move out of Sunnydale. The Hellmouth. The Place of All The Apocalypses. I mean, especially not to Nowhere South Dakota. I mean, they’ve probably never even heard of vampires out there. What do they get, mm? Corn demons?”

“As hard as this may be for you to believe, and as loathe as I am to admit it, there are powers bigger than the Watcher Council in existence, and one of them may be in play here. And, if I am correct about the origins of that invitation, there may be other commitments at hand than your commitment to being a Slayer—”

“Look, it’s not my commitment that’s the problem. It’s the fact that it’s a mystical thing that doesn’t go away. Here I was hoping that, you know, maybe I could share the duties, and then, well, things, and I dunno, nobody seems to have replaced Kendra. So no, it’s not my commitment at issue here.”

Giles coughed. “By that I meant, not your personal commitment, but the fact that by being Chosen, you were committed to the role. I am not questioning your dedication, Buffy, and I know this has been very hard for you…”

“Vampire. Stake it. Move on.” She rolled her shoulders and flopped back. “Not hard. Just a thing.”

Giles paused for a moment, frowning into the rear-view mirror. He coughed, checked the road, and frowned at the rear-view one more time. “Yes. Well. What I am saying is this: It is likely someone made a commitment on your part — and Willow’s — that you would attend this school, just as it is likely that someone made a commitment on your part that you would be the Slayer. It is not precisely fair, but it is often the way of things in more mystical dealings.”

“Yeah. I’m beginning to get the ‘not fair’ part.” She looked out the window, clearly done talking.

Giles continued anyway. “There may very arise a question of which commitment takes precedence. And, while this has not happened before as far as I know, it is also possible that the Watcher’s Council would suppress such information.”

“The Watchers? Those lovely pieces of humanity? Suppress information? Say it ain’t so!?” Xander made wide eyes and his best innocent face. “Especially anything that could get the Buffster off the hook. Man… wait. There’s something that could get the Buffster off the hook?”

Giles coughed.

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Who’s Next Door? Help requested

For Five-minute Map Friday tomorrow, I’m thinking of doing a quick map of Aud & Sage’s part of Smokey Knoll

I KNOW I’ve identified harpies and pixies and centaurs nearby, but I can’t FIND them.

What I have so far is:

the Brownies across the street.
Ogres (dragons) next door – cavern-and-castle system – waterfall

The neighborhood around it [Smokey Knoll], the Retibya Heights, is a, ah…”
“It’s an affluent upper-class human neighborhood…”

the Brownies across the street….

“(The harpies)…Their great-grandchildren live down the block from me”

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A Change and Changes, a continuation of a fanfic of Narnia and Valdemar

(Last Friday’s post, whoops)
first: A Door in the Wall
Second: On the Other Side of the Door
Third: The Call Comes Again
Fourth: New Travelling Companions
Fifth: Complications and then Complications
Sixth: Stranger Things

The ride – or walk, for Peter, Edmund, and Soleck – was not difficult, and it ended far sooner than Susan was ready for it to. They rode into a small village which seemed to grow out of the side of the hill, or maybe, like children’s toys, to have been tossed down along the slope. Leffen had no more trouble with the steep slope than he had with any other terrain, climbing up it as if it were a flat meadow.

When Susan slid off after Lucy, it was with great reluctance. And it seemed that Leffen understood that, for he nuzzled her as she patted him. ::This will not be our last ride, Queen Susan:: It seemed as if the Companion thought only for her ears, as it were. ::And, I assure you, this is far, far from your last ride on Valdemar soil or on the back of a Companion. But we must all do what we must, no?::

Susan took a breath to steady herself, and indulged herself for a moment. She pressed her face to the side of Leffen’s face, and breathed in his horsey, perfect smell. “We must all do what we must,” she whispered back to him. “And never let it be said that Susan Pevensie did not do what was needful.”

Leffen nosed into her hands and then stepped back, letting it seem as if Susan had chosen to rejoin her family. She looked around; Soleck was speaking politely to a few older people, while nearby children waited to see the Companion.

The garb on the people here was different from what they were wearing by quite a bit, although Susan should not have been surprised by that. It was also notably different from Soleck’s white vest, white shirt, and white breeches, although mostly in colors.

Susan looked down at her old dress and looked over at the women speaking to Soleck. The foremost was wearing trousers and a vest that looked made for durability rather than fashion; the two behind her, both with braided hair in steel-grey and white, were wearing what looked to be long skirts to their ankles with boots showing underneath. They would certainly stand out here for their clothing, if for no other reason. Susan patted her hair nervously.

Lucy was smiling at the children, waving at one nearly as old as her. She was in her element. Peter had joined Soleck and was negotiating, and Edmund had begun talking to a boy nearly his age. Susan… had been wool-gathering. She turned to find something to do. There had to be something.

“And you must be the leader of this group.” A matron in middle-age, the grey just starting to touch her temples, bustled over to Susan. “And you look as if you’ll either freeze or scorch, depending on which way your trip is going. Trust a Herald to think of everything except clothing. My name is Marna, hello dear. We’re to get you outfitted properly. Come this way.”

Susan blinked in the face of such efficiency. “Aah – I do believe Soleck, Herald Soleck said that he would be getting us more appropriate clothes,” she offered, as she found herself pulled along in Marna’s wake. “But I do thank you.” She looked down at her poor dress again and offered, “we were not dressed for travelling when this – when this mission was presented to us.”

“Dumped on you, more like it, and barely over children yourselves.” Marna stopped dead, turned around, and looked at Susan sharply. “But not children anymore, are you?”

Susan resisted the urge to blush and look away under the strength of that gaze. She lifted her chin and allowed herself a small smile instead. “It depends, ma’am, on how you measure childhood.”

“And a tidy ‘none of your business’ returned, and polite at that.” Marna’s smile suggested she was not truly offended. “You come with a Herald bringing you on a mission, so I trust you have good reason to be here. Now, you may be past childhood or near it, but you’re the same size as my daughter Astiansa before she went off to the capital to be a Bard, and your wee sister there is not so much smaller than my niece.”

Susan allowed herself to be fussed over, the vests and skirts heaped in her arms. “And a cloak, there, because it can get cold in the hills even in the midst of summer. And Orna down the street will see to a place for you to stay for the night, and she’ll have something for your brothers, too. And what Herald thought it was a good idea to let you walk around half-dressed…” Marna tutted. “It’s not my business, and I know that. But still!”

Susan found herself smiling. “I’m sorry,” she apologized, although there was nothing wrong with smiling in and of itself. “You just remind me very much of…” Of Mrs. Beaver “….of someone I used to know.” Her heart ached for a moment. If they went back through the door, here, when they returned would Marna and all her village, too, be centuries dead?

She swallowed and found her smile again before Marna had noticed it gone. “And it’s very nice of you to be helping us. Thank you for the clothing. I’ll be sure to retu—”

“You’ll do no such thing. Astiansa has her Bardic blues now, and my niece has outgrown these. They are a gift, and you’ll do me honor by taking them.”

Susan bowed, though her hands were laden, and did not smile at that. “I thank you, madam. It is very kind of you.”

Marna’s expression softened. “And it’s only what should be done. Come on, we’ll see to your bedding and clothes for your brothers. Boys that they are, someone must be letting down their hems every other week, aren’t they?”

Susan lost herself pleasantly in the domestic chatter, mending and feeding and following after teenaged boys, who were never done growing. She remembered, deep in her heart, when Peter had reached his full growth, and Edmund soon after. She wondered how many times she would watch them grow, and Lucy too. She found she was looking forward to it again.


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#ThrowbackThursday: an Icon-flash

May 26, 2012: I was working through a flash fiction for every icon I had (unsurprisingly, I never finished).

This one was for this icon:

Shooting Star

Icon by [personal profile] later_tuesday

Yeah, the first one of the Asteroid-hits took us by surprise. I mean, shooting stars didn’t hit the earth that hard very frequently, and when they did – crater, some rock, that was it.

Nobody expected there to be sentient life, not in that first one. And, because the government did a quick and thorough job of covering it up (I know, I was there), the rest of the world wasn’t expecting the second one, either, or the third.

By the thirty-seventh of these Shooting Stars, everybody knew. Hobos who lived in shacks in the desert knew (and I’m not counting that guy who got superpowers because the asteroid almost landed on him).

continue reading The Shooting Star Problem here.

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