Archive | March 16, 2017

In Which There are Second Thoughts… and Third

First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which They Stop Kissing Long Enough to Talk.

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She lay in her bed staring at the ceiling. As far as she could tell, Amrit was still asleep. His breathing was even and he made little noises, sometimes, that did not quite sound like speech.

He was warm next to her. It was a petty concern, but she liked it. He was warm — and it was stupid, but she was coming to trust him.

Not stupid, she argued with herself. He’d made promises. Oaths. He hadn’t had to do that. And here they were…

Here they were, in bed together. Warm together, although it would be months before that was a real necessity.

She shouldn’t let herself get attached.

Too late.

She shouldn’t let herself trust him. He might be wearing a collar, still – he hadn’t said a word about that, and maybe he understood that it helped her relax – but he wasn’t Kept and he was far too fae to accept slavery without Keeping.

Too late.

She found herself thinking with his help, maybe I could sell some food at the market and not just honey, and wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh meat more often? and even hot baths. Hot water and what he’d said the night before,

If everyone could heat things up like I can, they wouldn’t need firewood.

He’d be useful. That was why she’d bought him, wasn’t it? Because she wanted someone useful around the place. Because she wanted someone to keep her company and it was hard to get a cat to do enough work to balance out their keep, and besides, cats weren’t great conversationalists.

He rolled over and looked at her, eyes still half-lidded with sleep. “You’re thinking very loudly,” he commented, his voice a soft rumble, like there was someone he didn’t want to wake up.

“Don’t tell me you’re a telepath, too.” She smiled a bit, even though he had no Keeping bond pressing on him to think that might be an order, no reason for her to need to soften it.

He smirked back at her. “Ha. No, it’s just something about your body language. Something’s saying ‘deep thoughts’. It’s kinda early in the morning for those, isn’t it?”

“Best time for ‘em,” she countered. “Before it’s light enough to get anything done, when it’s still a little chilly even most of the summer and I don’t feel like I have to start moving yet.”

“I suppose you have a point. Me, I never woke up before I had to until — well, I suppose even here I woke up when I had to.” He smirked and waved his far arm around demonstratively. “Nice to not be tied down. Nicer to be here with you.”

“Glad you approve.” She hesitated and then, because it was honest if not kind, “I’m glad you made the promises. I’m not sure how long it would have taken me to trust you, otherwise.”

“I’m not sure you would’ve. I’m not sure I would’ve trusted me,” he admitted. “I was pretty nasty when you brought me here.”

“You were pretty angry when I brought you here. You haven’t told me to fuck off in days.”

He smirked at her. “Well, I was pretty sure you’d gotten the point. So… I’ve still got almost three weeks on that set of promises. What do you want me to do with that time?”

“Oh, do I have to plan three weeks ahead?” She smiled lazily at him. “I was thinking more about the next ten minutes.”

His eyebrows lifted and he grinned widely at her. “You don’t say? Only ten minutes, though? I think I could fill at least the next hour.”

“I suppose the woodpile will still be there in an hour.”

“And the bees, and the garden. Yeah.” He leaned towards her to kiss her – and froze as he was suddenly half-over her.

Mieve froze as he did. Was he – no, he was frowning. She caught the back of his neck, above the collar (the collar, they’d have to talk about that sometime) and pulled him down. “You were saying?”

He grunted, startled, his lips barely an inch from hers. “I was saying that the chores would wait.”

“You know, I think you’re right.” She held on to the back of his neck and kissed him, long and hard and not at all scared.

He didn’t move when she released him, just stared at her for a moment. Then his tongue darted out and he licked his lips, letting a short laugh escape him. “You’re something else. And you know what? I like it.” He rolled onto his back and held his arms out for her. “Come here, boss. Chores can wait, right?”

She could kiss him for that. She should kiss him for that. Mieve straddled him and did just that, one hand on his shoulder and the other behind his neck.

He ought to be swearing at her and trying to get away. He ought to be worried, or nervous, or angry or…

No. He wasn’t the least bit submissive. She didn’t think he’d ever be. But he was under her, and he was moving under her and…

“Oh…oh.”

And for a while, she wasn’t worried at all.
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Stone: After some Aftermath

This comes after King(maker) Cake, King for a Day, After the Kinging, and Stone: Aftermath
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“Stay here.” Beryl had the bossiness of the family down to an art form, especially the way she seemed to have convinced herself that she wasn’t actually bossy. Stone would’ve been impressed, if she wasn’t his sister. His little sister.

“It’s my room.”

“Yep. Stay there anyway.”

“Not going anywhere.”

Their parents had dealt with having four children in an imbalance of genders in a three-bedroom house by splitting both kids’ bedrooms in half, so Stone’s room wasn’t exactly spacious, but it was his, and he guarded it as jealously as a king would his castle. Beryl – who wanted the same respect, and got it from him, at least – knocked and waited in the open doorway.

“Come in.”

“Radar’s off being – well, being a tomcat, I imagine – but here’s Joseph.” She said it with frankness that probably got her in trouble with people in school.

Speaking of being fiercely overprotective, Stone knew exactly what he’d do to anyone who said anything unkind about his sister in his hearing. He’d only had to do it once for Chalce, and if he was lucky, she’d never find out.

He looked down at the necklace. It sparkled in his hand, blue gems in an antique setting.

“Well?” Beryl looked nervous, he thought. “Are you waiting for an engraved invitation?”

Stone sighed. At least his friends – unlike Chalce’s – were unlikely to barge in unannounced.

He put the necklace on and closed the clasp. It made the hair on the back of his neck stand up and his fingers twitch, but Aunt Rosaria had suggested he talk to the thing, and he was fairly certain she wasn’t trying to trap him or hurt him.

::The thing. Seriously.:: The voice sounded as if it were right next to his ear, like an old and amused grandfather who knew a few things. ::My name is Joseph, and I’m your great-great-something grandfather. And you, then, are Beryl’s brother Stone. The one with the spark.::

Stone cleared his throat, and then didn’t say anything out loud. Aunt Rosaria suggested I speak with you. He formed the thoughts carefully in his mind.

::Rosa! She wore me once – as a necklace, young man, and nothing more. I’m older than that generation, you know. I’ve been around for a while. Far longer than I was planning on sticking around, i can tell you that.::

Stone coughed out a laugh. “The family has a habit of doing that to you.” So what if Beryl was still in the room? It wasn’t like she didn’t talk to her necklace too.

::But hrrmm… Why would she want me to talk with you, and vice versa? Let me see, let me see… It seemed to be humming in Stone’s mind. It? He. ::Well, I supose there are several reasons. One is that someone needs to give you the talk about what happens when a mare and a stallion-::

“Had that one, thanks!” Stone yelped. Beryl giggled, and he glared at her. “What?”

“That’s the face I think I made when Joseph offered to explain to me where foals came from.”

“Yeah.” He looked away. His little sister… no. He sent the mental version of a glare at the necklace – at the personality in his mind, at least. Nobody as old as Joseph should be talking to Beryl about any of that.

::I meant no disrespect, I assure you. She is a powerful woman, and it will behoove her to know exactly how powerful she can be. But let me see – no, if not that talk, then I imagine you must have power. And since the family deals so very well with power in men, you’re going to need some help::

“Aunt Rosaria’s gonna teach me,” he muttered.

::Well, and hasn’t life gone in changed since I was en-stoned? Ha, a stone grandfather for a boy named Stone. We’ll suit, my boy, we’ll suit well. And now, hrrm. I imagine the lesson is “What happens to people who go against the will of the family?” and, just to be fair – which I’m going to note I wouldn’t always be – exactly what counted as going against the will in this case. Now, I know this sounds creepy, but if you can get your sister over here, we can explain this to both of you at once.::

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Worldbuilding Month Day 7: Strands and more Strands

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it!
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This seventh one is from [personal profile] inventrix:
Does everyone who does magic work with Strands? Corollary: if there are people who think they don’t, is it just like how Autumn uses ink – it’s their approach, not the fact that it’s different magic?

Also, what ARE Strands, anyway.

Okay!

So, in Stranded World, everyone who works magic is working with the Strands. Like Autumn and sometimes Summer, they don’t always directly manipulate the strands, and some of them don’t realize what they’re doing at all, but all magic involves manipulating or reading (or cutting, although I guess that’s a manipulation) the Strands.

So, yes, a psychic might be using tea leaves or a palm-reading, but what they are actually seeing is the way the Strands seem likely to move in the near future.

And the Strands are… the world.

Autumn sees primarily the Strands that are connections between people, because that’s her strong suit. She visualizes them as lines, and there are indeed Strands connecting people – love, hate, co-workers, family – everything that makes people touch and make a connection, even eyes meeting across a subway, causes some sort of strand.

They are the actions of people, too, past, current, and potential, streams of movement running through the world; they are the connections people make with things and things make with things.

Some philosophers haves suggested the whole world is just composed of Strands upon Strands. They may be right.

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Feral Kitties, a continuation for Tír na Cali.

After Kitties and Fancy-Dressed Kitties

Rrian, the new assistant gardener for Lady Enasshi, found himself spending his off time looking at the other slaves on the estate.

Helena, the chatelaine, had a very subtle mod – she had cat eyes and slightly pointed, slightly tufted ears, and a slight change in the way she walked. To look at her move around the estate, you’d have thought she had been raised from day one to be a fine lady’s chatelaine.

And maybe she had, Rrian reminded himself. Not all moddies were made or raised by the Agency, the way he had.

Tabitha, the assistant chef, definitely had been. The way she handled a knife was terrifying. The way she looked at Rrian – now that was something.

He let her stalk him into the rear garden when he was off-duty, leaving enough of a trail that even a full human might have been able to find him. She didn’t need it. But he wanted to be sure she knew he was aiming to be followed.

She caught him by the fountain of Enasshi’s royal ancestor Tertia, pounced on him and knocked him to the ground. Rrian looked up at her and smiled.

“You were Agency,” she accused. She sniffed the sides of his neck. He bared his neck to her, because she was sharp.

“So were you.” He grinned at her, all sharp teeth. “And here we are.”

She settled back on her heels, straddling his thighs, looking at him. “So what do we do now?”

“Well… According to what the head gardener, the chatelaine, and our Lady herself has told me… on our time off? Anything we want.”

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Snowed In

(Yes, I find it a little amusing that I have a “Blizzard” Icon. It’s from a setting!)

So, we spent the last two days snowed in, how about you?

The last time I can remember that a major storm was supposed to hit NY, with all of the bells and whistles and a name, was Sandy – the hurricane, which totally ignored Ithaca except some rain and went on to devastate NYC and New Jersey.

To be honest, I was expecting more of the same from Stella. Ithaca just doesn’t get snow most years, not like Rochester or Buffalo do (those giant inland seas dump a lot of snow on their cities…)

I figured I’d get up Tuesday morning and there’d still be grass visible.

As a matter of fact, when I woke up at 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, there still was grass visible.

Not so much by 6 a.m.

Definitely not so much by mid-day.

At noon — long after I’d decided to work from home — the campus closed for 24 hours. Which then extended to 4:30 Wednesday.

By 6:30 Wednesday we’d dug out the driveway.

I did work from home for partial days both days. But I have to tell you, the little kid in me is still running around going “snow day! Snow day!”

I think the cats were happy to see me go back to work today…

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