I’m in the mood for action, for political intrigue, for space battles and sword fights and bishie boys. I will write at least 250 words per prompt, and may write more if the urge strikes me. I’ll be taking prompts from July 30-31
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I have almost finished migrating all of Addergoole: The Original Series to WordPress, here: http://www.addergoole.com/TOS/
But with the slow death of the old forums and moving to the new site… it looks sad. It wants comment-love.
So I’m going to bribe you, the readers, to leave comments.
The first 20 people** to leave comments* on the new Addergoole site (http://www.addergoole.com/TOS/) may request any Addergoole or fae-apoc based short-short stories:
The first 5 commenters will get 250 words
The next 5 will get 100 words
The next 5 will get 50 words
and the next 5 will get 25 words.
Each additional comment after your first will increase that wordcount by 10%, up to 500 words.
Leave a note here with your requested story. Stories will be posted within the next 2-3 months, as time permits.
* A comment, for the purposes of this post, must be at least 10 words long, excluding typo-finds, and must be relevant in some way to the post you’re commenting on. No credit for spam!
** This option will remain open for three weeks, or until I have 20 commenters, whichever comes first.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1146833.html. You can comment here or there.
Part I: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1096503.html
Part II: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1100922.html
Part III: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1104619.html#cutid1
Part IV: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1108537.html
Part V: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1112216.html
Part VI: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1124762.html
Part VII: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1134781.html
Part VIII: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1139412.html
Help! I’d like clever individual titles for these chapters as well – now taking suggestions for all 8!
“Are you sure we’re going the right way, Giles? I mean, yeah, massive wards of wardiness seem to say something about ‘here be strange things’ but the scenery…” Willow looked out the window at wheat that seemed to go on forever. “There’s nothing here.”
“No shoe stores,” Buffy sulked.
“Buffy, you bought three new pairs of shoes in the last city. In between making a scene of yourself.” Giles ‘ tut-tutting had very little heat; perhaps, like the other two, he was trying desperately to draw attention away from Xander’s confusion. “And yes, Willow. The Addergoole School is quite isolated. I’m told it helps focus attention on one’s studies, which shouldn’t be a problem for you, but may prove difficult for some others.”
“Hey, I went to almost every class last week!” Buffy glared with mock indignation.
“Indeed. Well, and here we are.” Giles turned a corner in the road that seemed to exist for no reason at all, and in front of them was a barn. “Ah, this is what the instructions said, at least….” He drove up to the barn and honked twice.
“This isn’t creepy at all.” Xander looked from one window to the other. “Next, there were lill these creepy children coming out of the corn, talking all at the same time and their eyes glowing blue…”
“I think you might be mixing movies, Xander.” Willow tutted, but her heart wasn’t in it. “I think the glowing blue eyes — Ah!”
“Relax, Willow,” Buffy teased, “it’s a guy. A… rather… handsome… guy. Scowly, too.”
Giles cleared his throat. “And likely with hearing as good as yours, Buffy, if not better. Hello, sir. Might you be Luca Hunting-Hawk?”
“I am.” He was short, although taller than Buffy, with short-cropped black hair and an impressive scowl; his t-shirt was practically bulging around his biceps, and his jeans looked old, worn in, and as if they covered just as much muscle. “You’re the ones coming to visit?”
“Yes, ah, that is. I am Rupert Giles, called Ripper, and these are my students, Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, and Alexander Harris.”
“Your Students? Interesting.”
“I believe you will find that interesting does not begin to cover the situation where these three are concerned.” Giles coughed. “Which is in large part why we are here now. It’s not just to tour the school, although I’m certain they are all interested. It is because these three come with certain… special circumstances which I am not certain your administration is aware of.”
“Let’s talk, then.” Luke frowned. “Their mothers did not come along?”
“Just ‘mothers’, did you notice?” Xander whispered loudly. Willow and Buffy shushed him.
“Their mothers… ahem. Well, let us just say that I am standing in loco parentis for the moment, as far as the law is concerned, and the rest we can save for our meeting.”
“Loco what?” Buffy whispered. Willow and Xander shushed her.
“Hrrm.” Luke rolled his shoulders. “You weren’t joking about ‘interesting’, were you?”
“No. Not at all. Now, I haven’t been able to find out much about this school…”
“You wouldn’t have. It’s only in its fourth year, and we prefer to fly below the radar. It’s an unusual school…”
“These three are unusual students.” Giles’ voice was dangerously mild. “I wonder if it’s the same sort of ‘unusual.’”
“Hey, now, Buffy’s Buffy and Willow’s, well, Willow, but I’m pretty usual,” Xander complained. “I think I got my invitation by mistake.”
“Ha.” Luke snorted at him. “Regine doesn’t make that sort of mistake.”
“Well, I mean, all sorts of people make mistakes about me. That’s just, you know, I’m mistake boy.”
“Come on in, son. Ladies. Ripper.” Luke turned back towards the barn.
“Ah, if you don’t mine, Rupert or Giles in front of the children…”
“We’re not exactly babies, ‘Ripper’,” Buffy complained.
“Be that as it may, I’d rather that I remain Giles to you three. Now let’s not keep the gentleman waiting any longer, shall we?”
Luke snorted once again and swung open the barn door. “Down this way. We’ll come back and get your stuff later.”
“Creepy much?” Buffy muttered.
“Ah, Buffy. It may be that things are going to seem especially ‘creepy’ here at Addergoole. Please… react with more thought than is normally needed.”
“What? It’s not like I… okay. Move slowly and don’t… punch people too often. Got it.” Buffy nodded sharply. “This is going to be fun,” she added in a quiet mutter.
Although Luke had his back to the three teens, Giles had a perfect view of the short man’s sudden smile. “Know someone who’s gonna like her,” he muttered softly. “She’s sharp.”
“You have no idea,” Giles sighed. “You have absolutely no idea.”
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“You have have records on paper.” Genique stared at the Moneykeeper with a look that was fifty percent horror and fifty percent dry amusement. She was still getting over the fact that this so-called pirate ship had a Moneykeeper, in addition to a Quartermaster and a full rank system.
As she looked around Moneykeeper Jeffer ReemMickey’s office, Genique came to the slow realization that the ship didn’t really have a Moneykeeper. They had… an old man who had probably been a brilliant pirate – maybe a hitter, maybe something like a tech expert – when he was younger. He hadn’t died the way pirates were supposed to, early and violently, and they’d given him a sinecure position, something to keep him out of the way.
“Well, and what else would I do?” ReemMickey stared right back at Genique.
“The fire hazard alone…!” Genique shook her head. “The weight on this poor ship. How did you even get all this paper?”
“And how do pirates get anything?” The man was wearing enough jewelry to consist of a weight overage on its own, much of it likely stolen from kidnapped space-cruise travellers. “I took it. And I made the notes like the captain wanted, and tracked the money.”
“So how much money does the ship have right now?”
“And how should I know that?”
“…You know what? Never mind. What I am going to do is track every piece of this paper, and then we are going to have a bonfire. I think the attack bay can handle it.” Genique sat herself down in the center of the mess. “Thank you, Moneykeeper. I’ll be getting to work now.”
She thought he might be swearing at her, but Genique didn’t care. She was already logging in notes.
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It had been a long time since she’d been visible like this. Akazha did her best to ignore the people in the village; she was going to save them first and deal with them later. She rolled her shoulders and felt her second arms appear. She shifted from foot to foot and felt her tail unfurl.
In this form, she was a good three feet taller than in her human shape. In this form, she had some weaknesses that were nearly mythical, but the rest of her was pretty tough.
In this form, she looked like a nightmare come down to earth. She was ready to shake this monster until she was in all of his bad dreams, from now forever after.
She could hear some of the humans screaming behind her. Akazha shook her head, her crest waving in the wind. The monster in front of her took a step backwards, pulling two children with him.
“What are you?” he snarled.
Akazha smiled. “I am the thing which awakens with pain,” she told him. “Step away from the children.”
“They’re mine,” he snarled. “This is my town and these are my people.”
“Step away from the children,” Akazha repeated. She stepped forward, massive feet thumping loudly on the broken pavement. “Or I will remove you.”
“You can’t take them away. They’re mine, and what are you, some Nedetakaei bastard dragon?”
Akazha found her lips curling upwards, all of her sharp teeth showing. “That’s about right. Bastard of a dragon.”
He’d meant it as an insult, and she could tell that her smile disturbed him. He stepped backwards again. This time, he pushed the children towards Akazha. “Take them! Just leave me alone, and leave my town alone.”
Akazha stepped forward again, past the children, who were stumbling towards their parents. “I don’t think you understand.” Her claws were so long in this form, and they glinted in the light. “I have been awoken.” It was not the least creepy of lines, but it had done her well in the past. “And now someone will pay.”
“Take them! Take all of them!” The monster scrabbled backwards now. Akazha strode forwards, each step of hers more than twice one of his. “They will pay your price! Just take it, take them, and leave!”
“Not how it works,” she rumbled. She lashed out with her claws, but he had turned around, fleeing like the creep that he was. She opened his back to the bone, once, twice.
He fled. He might die, but it was more likely he would live, forever marked as a monster and a coward.
The blood did as it always did, staining her claws black, bringing a quick exhaustion to Akazha. She dropped to her knees, and then to the ground. She would sleep. And when she woke… then she would know what the villagers would have of her.
Her last waking sight was a toddler tucking a teddy bear between her dark claws.
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Painting was not easy. The technical skill was relatively simple. Nina had been rendering elevations of potential buildings since she began working. She could display a leaf on the canvas. She could show you its veins and the way it curved.
That was not what Aspen did. Aspen made art. His paintings made feelings happen, deep in Nina’s gut. They showed movement and light and the way the air tasted, fresh by the reservoir, darker by the road.
She kept coming back, looking at his art, trying to imitate it, failing and trying again. Frustration filled her. She crumpled up drawings and tossed them away, only to recover them to feel the sensation over again. Sometimes, she felt anger rising up inside her, and if nobody else was in their little corner of the park, she would shout, letting it out in a way that felt too loud, too bright.
Aspen seemed to understand. “I started studying painting because our substations were ugly,” he told her, one day when she had flopped on the ground in frustration and helplessness. “Nobody could understand it, but people were coming to the parks less and less. People need fresh air. People need to spend time around other people, and time alone.” He’d gestured at the building, which had been painted to blend into the landscape, the foliage and the detailing technically perfect. “So I sat out here, making sure that it was working, that people were visiting without being repulsed. The more I sat here, the more I wanted to paint things. The more things I painted, the more I wanted to make them interesting. The more I tried… well. One night, I realized I’d been dreaming.”
Dreaming. She’d heard of it — whispers, from people with names instead of numbers, from people who did not approve of people with names. Dreaming made your brain tell you lies. It made your mornings uncertain, these stories that did not exist fluttering through your mind. It made you unreliable. “I do not dream,” she informed Aspen.
His brush moved over his canvas. After a few minutes — he was painting leaves again, autumn leaves although it was still springtime outside — he smiled at her. “You will. And when you do, then you will bring color to your paintings.”
He patted Nina’s knee. It was the first time she could remember anyone touching her casually. “In the meantime, the anger is a good start.”
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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
Seventh: A Change and Changes
Eighth: But Not A Return
Ninth: The Gods Not Tamed
Tenth: The Tiny Queen Arises,
Eleventh:The Gentle Queen Awakens
Twelth: The Terror of the Plains
The ride was an easy one, and they were not going at speed. Polla spent a few hours regaling them with tales of her exploits as the Terror of the Plains, tales which Susan suspected were lightly censored for ears she could not help but think of as young.
When they broke for the night, it was at a campsite, the first time they’d had a chance to “rough it” in this new world.
“Oh, let us get the tents,” Edmund chivvied. “We haven’t had a chance to in ages, and it’s always nice, like setting up a new house wherever you are.”
Half or more of the time, their ‘tents’ had been royal pavilions, set up by aides. Susan chose not to point that part out; she was fairly certain her brothers could set up a tent.
“Lu and I can gather firewood.” She looked around the forested area; their campsite had clearly been used thus before; it was set back from the road but in a clearing in the trees, there was a firepit made of stacked stones with a spit already set above it, and there was a wide smooth spot cleared of brush where the boys were already setting up tents. “Is there an axe or a hatchet?”
“…This, I was not expecting. Here, the hatchet ought to be small enough for even Lucy to handle comfortably. Don’t go too far from… ah.” Polla coughed as Susan swung her quiver onto her back. “Still, don’t go too far from camp.”
“We’ll stay within earshot of a shout,” Susan assured her. “What’s the biggest threat in these hills?”
“There are big cats — cougars and something a little smaller but a lot more nasty — and there are sometimes bandits. You’re better with the cats than the bandits, truth be told, because you can scare off a cat.”
“We’ll be careful,” Lucy promised solemnly. She hefted the hatchet thoughtfully. “These trees don’t talk, do they?”
“No, we’re not deep enough into the Pelgaris Forest for that. Still, it’s best to stick to deadwood, even here. None of that will give you any trouble.”
“Of course. Thank you.” Lucy bounded off, her eyes on Susan wide and happy. Susan could read in her sister’s expression what she wanted to crow to the sky: Did you hear? They have trees that talk!
She patted Lucy’s shoulder. “There will be time to explore, we can hope, when the mission is done.”
“I do hope so. This is different, it’s… in Narnia…” she dropped her voice to a whisper. “Anywhere we went, even the trees knew us. ‘Sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.’ And then we were their historical kings and queens, or we were Caspian’s old friends. Here, we’re strangers. We’re kids again. It’s strange not to be known when we’re not at — not on — not at home?”
Lucy, Susan knew, would always think of Narnia as home. “I know, Lu. But we’re going to help these people and do great things here, as well. And then maybe you’ll get to wear lovely dresses again,” she teased. “And give out largess.”
Lucy wrinkled her nose. “I’ll leave the pretty dresses to you. You’ve always been better at them.” She walked in silence for a moment. “And Peter’s always been better at the high diplomacy, and Edmund at the low.” She twisted around and aimed a mischievous smile at Susan. “I just like talking to people.”
“I seem to remember you’ve stopped two wars and started a third by ‘just talking’,” Susan retorted.
“Well, I’m very good at talking. It was… I think it was a little easier when I was little older. But at this size, I’m very good at listening.” She stretched out her arms and tested the hatchet, carefully, on a piece of deadwood. “We should have trained more.”
“We trained as much as we could. There was fencing class, and that archery we practiced. And all those long walks to keep our legs in the habit of walking.”
“But there wasn’t proper training.” Lucy swung her hatchet again. This time, the deadwood cracked and split. “It wouldn’t have done, I suppose. They’d have asked questions. They asked enough questions, about all of us. Peter and all his questions about the War.”
“Me and those awful girls at school,” Susan agreed quietly. “You and the time you split that horrid boy’s lip and made sure he blamed himself.”
Lucy glanced guiltily back at her big sister. “You weren’t supposed to know about that.”
“There are things you’re all good at. I’m good at knowing what’s going on. Like the way that the people in the bar were gossiping — did you hear? They were talking about the Young Prince and all the trouble he gets into. And then in the village, they were talking about King Roald, and they were fussing about him. So the Young Prince…”
“That’s who we’re looking for?” Lucy murmured. “And they think…”
“He enjoys partying, he likes to cause trouble. If he’s missing, it could be a prank.”
“Do you really think Aslan would have brought us here for a prank?”
Susan didn’t say the first thing that came to her mind — they had not seen Aslan. They only had the word of a cat that Aslan had sent them. “No,” she answered instead. “I don’t think he’d send us here to resolve a prank.”
“Then we should treat it as if it is real. Besides,” Lucy added, and although her voice was quiet, Susan could hear the edges, as sharp as the hatchet she was swinging, “we should be mindful not to discount someone, just because they’ve been known to prank before.”
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Akazha had been slipping through the mud and the muck of swamps and the stench of dead towns. She had wrapped herself in dun and denim, old rags of clothing and layers of dusty, bland cloth. It was the sort of thing that many people were wearing, people that wanted to survive and get by and didn’t really have time to worry, right now, about fashion.
She’d covered herself up from head to toe – it was coming on winter, and she was in the North, so it raised no eyebrows and brought no questions, save one particularly handsy would-be mayor who ripped her veil of and stared at her ears, as if expecting them to be pointed. She ducked her head and didn’t look at people in the face when she met them, just mumbled that she could work if there was food.
There was sometimes work. More rarely was there food. Everyone was hurting, and everyone was scared. She did what she could, and didn’t stay too long. “I don’t like to be around people,” she’d say. “I don’t want to be any trouble.” Any place that could spare a little food for her, well, they could only spare a little, and she didn’t want them to start asking questions.
She wrapped the old clothes around herself like a mask, kept her head down and made no trouble. She was just trying to get by. They were all trying to get by.
She hadn’t meant to fight the monster, but she’d been in Fairview for less than a day, and she could already tell he was bad news. He was hurting the people. He was hurting the kids.
She stood up to her full height and let her colors show. Green and red, blue and yellow; her scales and her skin were all the shades of the rainbow and some never seen in nature.
They’d kill her, the villagers would, or drive her off. She hadn’t had a proper meal in months, and she’d been hoping this would be different.
Akazha stretched, feeling the rags around her tear off, and let her true colors show.
Written to today’s Thimbleful Thursday prompt, “Show One’s True Colors.”
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After living their entire lives in Smokey Knoll, where a harpy fledgeling selling cookies door-to-door was a normal part of the day and dragons sometimes crash-landed in your backyard, if there was one thing I never expected to hear my children say it was “there’s no such thing as…”
And yet there was my oldest, Jin, staring out the front window in the living room, clearly and concisely declaring that exact thing.
“There’s no such thing as—” Continue reading
Sorry, guys… um. *cough* Tomorrow will be Wednesday.
And also Thursday.
And maybe part of Friday.
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