Archive | February 2017

MARKED – Follow that trail!

MARKED – 4.6

“Now Nilien,” Professor Vaudelle frowned, “if there really is someone here who wants to harm you, you should let the adults handle it. We don’t want you to be hurt; Reinmonte is meant to be a safe place to learn, not a place to get into more danger.”

“I’ll be all right, professor.” Feeling a little guilty, Nilien added on a fib, “besides, it’s probably just another student pulling a prank, right? If I bring in a teacher for something like that, it will only make it worse.”

“You can go look,” the professor relented, “but if it turns out that it’s not another student, do come find me or one of the other teachers. Don’t try to take on another adult by yourself. Understand?”

read on…

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In Which they have Nerves

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which They are Dirty.


Some part of Amrit’s brain was still trying desperately to remind him she bought you at a slave market. She kept you chained and gagged and collared. She wants you to be her slave. Her Kept.

The rest of him was being pretty clear that those things were irrelevant. Certain parts of him — not his brain, no matter what the jokes said — were very intent on everything being irrelevant.
And some part of him was tied up in knots that made him feel young and stupid and very out of his element again. But he had her in his arms, he was not going to drop her, and he wasn’t going to conk her head into anything.

Her hallways were narrow. She was not a short woman – compared to him, sure, but not compared to other women he’d encountered and the one he’d carried once. He held her close to him and tried to ignore the way she was grabbing on to him. Holding his neck. Holding his shoulders, yes, that was far safer to think about. Amrit swallowed a noise like a growl, not wanting to frighten her again, and maneuvered her into the bathroom.

There was a water pump. He glared at the pump as if that would make it start working.

“Tempero Yaku,” Mieve started, and then followed it with a string of Greek he barely followed. Control Water, though, that he knew, and it quickly became obvious, as water gushed out of the faucet. The tub appear to plug itself, so Amrit took advantage of the moment to start heating the water up as it poured in.

“Eventually you’re going to have to put me down,” Mieve pointed out, when he had completed the Working. “Since you can’t take your clothes off while you’re holding me, and vice versa.”

“I might be able to,” he admitted, “but not and still have clothes when I was done. All right. I suppose I should put you down.” He was surprisingly reluctant to do so. It wasn’t like she was going anywhere, he knew, and yet… Slowly, he set her on the feet.

And now he had to strip in front of her. He turned his back a bit, not sure where this modesty was coming from. He had nothing he was ashamed of, nothing he wanted to hide. He pulled off his clothes slowly. He wanted to turn and look at Mieve, but somehow that seemed like it would be wrong.

He growled. He wasn’t fifteen, damnit.

“You can turn around.” Mieve’s hand landed on his shoulder. “It’s not like we’re not going to be in the tub together in a minute or anything. I’m not going to be offended.”

“I know,” he grumbled. “I just… this is. It’s new. Different.” He twitched his shoulders. “Don’t want to end up fighting again.”

She made a small noise, a worrisome noise, and that was enough to finally make Amrit turn around. She had her hand over her mouth, and it was a moment before he realized she was laughing.

“It’s not funny,” he grumbled, but he couldn’t bring any real heat to it.

“It’s not,” she admitted, still laughing, “and… yet… it’s a little funny?”

“It’s a little funny,” he grumbled agreement. Under the clothes, she had a much more shapely figure than he’d thought. A little skinny — they were all a little skinny, and anyone who wasn’t, you had to wonder a bit at their secrets — but gorgeous nonetheless.

He bit back whatever noise wanted to come out of his throat, not entirely sure what it would be, and only then noticed that she was looking him up and down too.

“Liking your purchase?” Some bit of ridiculousness made him lift his arms and suck in his stomach — not that he had a gut anymore; he was skinny like the rest of the world — and pose for her.

She ran her hand over his chest, sending shivers through his body. “Quite a bit,” she murmured. “Forgiving me for buying you?”

“Better you than Fineus the Whoremonger.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead tenderly. “But there’s this tub waiting for us…”

“It looks kind of tempting, doesn’t it? I’m glad you can heat water up. I haven’t had a properly hot tub in quite a while…”

“The tub isn’t what looks tempting.” He swung her up into his arms again and kissed her. He was fiercer than he meant to be, but he wanted to get it in before she stopped him. Before she came to her senses and remembered that she’d bought him.

“Mmm. Well, both you and the tub are pretty hot,” she teased, when they came up for air. “So let’s combine the two and see if it multiplies hotness.”

“Now you’re just being silly,” he murmured. “I’m not all that good-looking, you know.”

“I suppose I shouldn’t point out how rarely I see another sentient being, should I?”

“No… no. Let me have some of my pride, please.”

She chuckled. “You have nothing to worry about when it comes to your looks. But if you don’t get in the tub soon, I might second-guess the second half of this plan.”

“There’s a second half? There’s a plan?” He stepped into the tub and very carefully sat down, setting her in his lap.

“Maybe more of a concept or a hope,” she admitted. She shifted around for a few moments and leaned back with her head on his chest. “Although this is quite a nice result, I have to admit.”

He touched her arms cautiously. “You wanted this? Really?” What was wrong with him?

“You’re… yes. Let’s just go with yes, all right? You may be mulish, but you’re kind. Also,” she teased, “you really need the bath.”

“Well, I wasn’t going to say anything, but so do you.” He picked up a sliver of soap she’d left on the side of the tub and started washing her neck and shoulders. “You know how good you’ve got it here, right?”

“Half of that is magic. I mean, if everyone could make water flow with their minds, they wouldn’t need running water quite so badly. And… ooh. That feels nice.” She leaned forward as he soaped up the back of her neck up into her hairline. “If everyone could heat things up like you can…”

“They wouldn’t need firewood. But you’re safe here, you’ve got food and water and shelter and, oh, man, I can’t tell you the last time I took a bath.” Much less one with a lovely woman. He moved his hands up into her hair. “It’s a pretty sweet set-up. I don’t blame you for not wanting to lose it.”

“I got lucky.” Her voice was quiet, and she seemed stiller, almost stiff. “A lot of people didn’t.”

“I know.” He kissed the top of her head. “I know. Me, too. I won the Change lotto, and then even when I was stupid enough to get caught by slavers – I got bought by you, and not by some asshole.”

“You could’ve gotten free from some asshole.” She looked as if she wanted to relax, but her shoulders were still stiff. He ran the washcloth over her shoulders gently.

“Not if he kept me in hawthorn. And anyway, this place is better than – well.” It was his turn to go still, his hand on her shoulder. “…This place is the best place I’ve been since the world ended, and maybe before it.”

She twisted in his lap to kiss him. “Just you wait,” she murmured. “It gets better.”


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Now on Patreon: “If We Shadows”

Worst Play Ever!

The Seventh Street Players’ presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was cancelled after yesterday’s show left five people in a coma.

Available for all Patrons!

Written originally in 2011 – Stranded World, Autumn and Tattercoats in an earlier time.
The content, while not explicitly sexual (there are never 2 people in the same place), is steamy.

The mail drop was hidden in a hole in a tree, twisted around with magic to keep the squirrels from using their letters as nesting, to keep prying eyes from seeing.

One function that Autumn and several other itinerates of her ilk served was as couriers. E-mail could be read, phones tapped, postal mail interrupted. Messages travelling by courier were far less susceptible to tampering or loss; second best were messages left in strand-locked mail drops like this, then moved to the next drop by courier.

Read on…

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Walrus, a ficlet

I asked for a prompt on twitter. [ profile] medicmsh3141 gave me: “Walruses, and AIs who enjoy LARPing in their free time.”

So… here.

They called him the Walrus, because they needed something to call him, and they were the sort of group that
liked nicknames.

They called him him because they weren’t the sort of people to whom gender ambiguity came comfortably, and because his vocal unit was low-pitched and he had no obvious secondary sexual characteristics.

(Once, once, someone had made the joke that he ran on logic, therefore he must be male. The women in this group were not something to be trifled with, neither the artists nor the engineers nor the waitresses.)

He had strolled into their Saturday-night LARP group and asked to join and they, never one to turn down a new member, had invited him in with open arms. Amy lent him a fedora. Carrie showed him how to make a character. Dylan gave him the walrus mustache that stuck so badly to human skin and so well to the Walrus’ polymer facade.

They were in the science building, after all (It had the best space for wide-spanning live-action games). None of them questioned why there was an AI in the building and, being LARPers through and through, none of them questioned why he’d want to play.

They called him the Walrus, and he played with them every Saturday now.

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MARKED – Ohh, verbal slap down.

MARKED – 4.5

Nilien stared down at Ember. “I’m sorry, you can what?

I can find the person that marked you, Ember repeated patiently. I got the spell’s spoor before the teacher removed it. It’s not difficult.

Nilien blinked at her familiar. “You can — I didn’t know you could do that!”

You didn’t ask. Ember yawned again and put its head down, tail over its nose.

Nilien looked up at Professor Vaudelle. “Ember says that it can find the person who put the tracking mark on me. I didn’t know familiars could do magic.”

read on…

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March is World-Building Month this Year

…because why not?
here’s a landing page with most of my universes on it.

Here is the 2014 World-Building post

here’s the 2015 post.
I’ll answer 23 questions – hopefully one/weekday but we’ll see – so ask away. Anything world-building, any of my worlds, ask as many questions as you want. (if, by some amazing luck, I have more than 23 questions, I’ll either choose what to answer or overflow into April).

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Love Meme: Reid and Regine

The meme is here: Give me the names of two characters and I will tell you why character A loves character B.

Here is [personal profile] clare_dragonfly‘s third prompt. Reid and Regine are from Addergoole. This was a wee bit tricky~

Reid and Regine

For all of her noble quest to show the value of half-bloods, when Reid met Regine, she still had many of the prejudices of the pure-blooded.

Reid had been dealing with those prejudices for nearly as long as Regine had been having them. He found them irritating on a good day, angering on a bad day, and on his worst days, they tempted him into shouting.

She had a good project, a good plan, and a good point, so he set his jaw and joined her program, and that would have been it – a carefully polite working relationship, line drawn and never budged, colleagues and nothing more.

Except one of those bad days happened through no fault of Regine’s.

There was a phone call. It was a long-distance call, and such things were expensive. It was quiet, it was intense, and nobody but Reid heard it.

And that would’ve been it. He had long experience not blowing his lid, not showing his anger, but Regine chose that day, that exact time when he had just hung up, to ask/demand something in her particularly Grigori way.

And Reid exploded. He snarled and shouted and swore, all of it bloody with the rage that was his birthright and name-right, and informed Regine in no uncertain terms that if she had hired an expert in Mind Workings than she damn well ought to respect his expertise.

And Regine, in a move unprecedented for her, bowed her head and very humbly apologized. And then – and this might have been the kicker – she asked Reid if he would show her the Working she’d been asking about.

It wasn’t a Magic Moment. It didn’t change her forever. But it did allow Reid to talk to her as a colleague and, sometimes, as a friend, and that, in the end, helped more than anything else.

Want More?

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Weekend Blog with Yard-Work and procrastination…

Saturday morning, before the weather broke, my husband and I spent probably a half-hour cleaning out our culvert, digging wet leaves and sticks out of the ditch and hauling them to the hedgerow.

It’s achey work, bending-over, digging, lifting, wet work, and at least the weather was still in the fifties. It was necessary work, because in a heavy rain, our culvert fills all the way to the top, and, clogged as it was, it might have overflowed in unfortunate ways. It’s supposed to carry rain away, not keep it in our yard, after all.

There was the nice feeling of having done something physical that was productive was nice, that warm ache. But on the other hand…

So, I hate raking. I really, really hate raking. It goes back to being a child, and I am ridiculous about any number of chores that I had to do as a kid/teenager — but raking really ranks up there.

And we didn’t rake this fall.

And the leaves all blew, like they will, into the culvert.

You see where I’m going?

It reminded me of learning, maybe seven years ago, exactly how bad it could be when Iavoided conflict by not talking about problems or by trying to give in to everyone at once (Answer: everyone ends up mad at you and you end up with even more conflict than you’d originally been trying to avoid).

It’s one of those lessons I have to keep learning over and over again: the more you put something off, the more work it is.

Hopefully, I remember this in fall, when it’s time to rake again. Or the next time something threatens to pile up in my metaphorical culverts.

…kind of like the dishes in the sink…

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Head South

Cya, after the apocalypse but before her kids go to Addergoole

Cya knew she was one of the good guys.

That was: she knew she was one of Boom, and she knew Boom were the good guys.

She knew that was all that kept her from going off the rails most days.

Some days, all it did was remind her how to cover it up.

She looked at the boy – man – the Kept in front of her and sighed. “You’re a mess, darling,” she muttered. He was sleeping. The Working she’d done would keep him that way for a while.

She wrote him a note anyway, because Cya believed in planning ahead. I had to run an errand. If I’m not back by Wednesday night, take this note to Howard and tell him “look South.”

Of course, almost everything was south from the Ranch, except Canada, but she didn’t want her Kept to guess where she was going.

She took her car. It shouldn’t still be running, but at this stage, she wasn’t the only one with a much-repaired vehicle still on the road, and hey, she could turn dirt into gas, which did help matters.

She tried not to hold on too tight to the steering wheel, but there was a small fire of anger deep in her gut. It was, like everything she felt at that point, a cold fire, a lump rather than a storm.

It was going to hurt someone anyway.

The man sleeping in her bed… When she talked to Addergoole, they told her things were better. They were old fae and had old memories, and they meant Things like what happened to Eris will never happen again. They meant, if it was Luke, who had seen it, or Mike, who paid more attention than he was given credit for, they meant we’ll try to make sure what happened to Leo doesn’t happen again. Leo was harder. She knew that, even though she didn’t really forgive it. Leo’s breaking hadn’t been nearly as visible as Eris bleeding in the halls.

They told her things were better, but there was only so far they were willing to go. Some people just weren’t meant to Keep and some people just shouldn’t be Kept, and those mistakes, Addergoole wasn’t going to fix any time soon.

And sometimes people were just too good at hiding their poison; some people were just too good at hiding their wounds. Agi, the man sleeping on her bed – he was one of those. His keeper had been sharp with her knife and careful, and her abuse had been subtle enough that it had never been picked up on. He’d gone through the next three years at Addergoole thinking it’d been his fault.

She knew the story too well. This time, someone was going to pay.

She held onto the steering wheel a little too tightly and whispered Repair Workings at the road ahead of her. There was no reason not to clean up as she went, and if this went south instead of just South, Howard would have a trail to follow.

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