Archive | March 24, 2017

If I Die Old…

Okay, so a long time ago Cal wrote a piece about Leo dying and Cya finding his reincarnation. This is something of a companion piece.

Content warnings for major character death, AU, violence, more violence, angst, and orders.

If I die, she’d told him, all my other orders are null and void. Everything except this one: live.

If you were looking for bright sides, she only felt the first blow. The giant that killed her broke her spine first, at the neck. The second blow was a rowan sword through her throat. After that, he tore off her armor and stabbed his sword through her heart.

Do what you have to within your oaths and your morals to survive – and live. If you have to take revenge, I won’t order you not to.

Leo had an oath against killing, but he didn’t get to the giant in time either way. The giant was felled by a granny with a very large rolling pin and her granddaughter wielding a puddle of water and a couple live wires. They cut off the monster’s head with a hatchet, cut out his heart with a carving knife, and threw them at the enemy.
The rest of him they dismembered and burned. The ashes and bone chips they buried in hawthorn, in lead, in the most toxic waste they could find. They were taking no chances.

But don’t just stay alive. Live. That’s my final order to you, Leo. Live.

There was mopping up to do, but the battle and the war had been won, and Cya’s city would be safe, even if she was gone.

They buried her with honor, under a statue with her face on it. She’d planned for everything, but she’d left no orders for her funeral. The city chose that.

Stay alive, because if we come back – if we come back, I’m going to find you. And you’d better be there for me to find. We live forever; 100 years is nothing for an age difference. So live, so you’re there when I come for you.

Ten years was nothing; it was an eternity. It was a blink; everything changed.

She was still short and still young. Her power hadn’t blossomed yet. But she had walked across half of what had been Montana at one point, because the mink in her dreams told her she had to.

“My name’s Thistle,” she told the guard. “I’m here for the blond warrior.”

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Cya Yells at a Kept

Okay, so the premise of this is thus: in this timeline, Cya has a small meltdown when she realizes that Leo is never going to love her the way she loves him. This has always been true. She’s always known it to be true. But she’s got a lot of practice at denial.

Anyway, her poor Kept has to deal with sobbing Cya and… in a move proving why her power thought he needed to be in a protective Keeping for a year… punches Leo in the face.

Leo gamely DOESN’T attack him back, although he scolds him, yells at him, and tells him to get out of his sight.

And then Cya comes home.

Cya Found her Kept in the spare bedroom, in the back corner, behind the built-in armoire. She sat down next to him and waited for him to look at her.

He cleared his throat. “I screwed up.” He sounded miserable.

“Yes, you did.” She made her voice gentle. “Why, Carew?”

“I…” He cleared his throat. “I punched Leo.”

“I noticed.” She gave him a small smile, a nice crooked one. “You don’t have don’t-attack-other-people orders because you didn’t seem like the sort to need them. Do I have to rethink that?”

“No! I mean…” He shook his head. “It was idiotic and I understand it. It’s just…”

“Tell me.” It was said gently, but it was no less an order.

“You were hurting!” It came out in a tumble, the way things ordered out often did. “I mean, crying, miserable, for days. Nights. And I mean, it doesn’t take an idiot to know it’s because of him. He hurt you, and he won’t – he won’t do anything about it.”

Cya considered that for a moment before shaking her head. “If I had punched the same wall for a hundred years,” she asked him, picturing it as she asked it, “would you be angry at me, or the wall?”

He considered it slowly. “It depends. Was the wall in your way? Was it trapping you?”

“Only, well, only because I put myself between three unmoving walls and didn’t think to walk out the fourth side.” She made a square-off U with her pointer fingers and thumbs. “I stood here banging my head against this wall, because I already knew the other two weren’t going to move. I mean, they’re not going to move either, but…” She took away the U and scrubbed at an imaginary stain with her hand. “I wanted those walls less, I guess? I didn’t want to give them as much of my blood, at least.”

He was staring at her. She ducked her head, even though she tried so hard not to do things like that with her Kept. “Too much?”

“No. No, I get it. I’ve uh. There’ve been walls I banged my head on, too. But you – you’re a lot o-” he coughed. The look he gave her was something like she was a sad puppy… which lately, she supposed she deserved.

“I’ve been at this a lot longer than you have. Yeah.” She grimaced. “I learn slowly, when it comes to some things. And I really, really, love him. Look… I’ve known Leo for a long time.”

“Since before my grandparents were born, he said.”

She looked at him and considered. “Since our first round of great-grandchildren are out of school for the most part… yes. That’s probably quite accurate.”

“Our? First round?”

“The kids Leo and I had separately and together at Addergoole, their Addergoole kids’ Addergoole kids,” she clarified. “At this point I have grandchildren older than at least one child. It gets messy… anyway.” She smiled sidelong. “I’ve known Leo practically forever. And I can tell you – if he agrees with you that he’s done something wrong, he can beat himself up far more effectively than anything you can do to him. Also… if you punch one of my crew-mates again,” and now she intentionally continued in the same dead-calm casual voice, because she wanted the whiplash to get his attention, “I will punish you hard enough that your great-grandchildren will remember it. Understood?”

He gulped and stared at her as if the puppy had turned out to be Cerberus. She smiled at him, which served to remind him that she had very sharp teeth indeed.

“I… uh. I understand. Ma’am, Cya sa’Red Doomsday, ma’am. I…” something broke in his voice and the panic went away. He just looked embarrassed. “I really am sorry. I just – I really felt bad for you.”

She hugged him tightly to her. “I know, kiddo. And that’s why you’re getting off with a warning this time. And dishes and garbage duty for the next month.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He already did the dishes most nights anyway. Wisely, he didn’t mention that. “Thank you, ma’am.”


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Luke Tries to Apologize

(this one comes before yesterdays’ Luke’s Homework ( story. That’s what I get for writing before we finish the RP…)

“I’ve been thinking.” As intros went, leaning in the doorway of Mike’s office with his feet still planted on the hallway floor, it left something to be desired. But he had been, and that had been the best he could come up with.

“I can tell.” Mike smirked up at him. “Come in, feather-brain. Keep doing that and we’ll have an audience in no time.”

Luke came in, closing the door behind him. “It’s summer,” he muttered, before letting himself get back to the topic. “You can tell?”

“Your wings twitch when you’re thinking.”

Luke spread his wings, catching himself after only a hand-spread, and pulled them back in close. “They twitch a lot.”

“But not so much when you’re not talking to people. What’s on your mind, Hunting-Hawk?”

There was something formal about the way Mike used his Name. Luke fought to keep his wings still and his voice level.

None of that mattered if Mike decided to read his emotions, but Mike usually avoided that.

“I owe you an apology.” He let it hang in the air just long enough to know he had Mike’s attention, and then continued quickly, before the Daeva could blow it off with a joke. “For the time when I Kept you.”

“You really have been thinking. Luca, that was lifetimes ago. Centuries ago.”

“You always said I was a bit slow, didn’t you?”

“But Luca…” Mike sounded nearly plaintive. “What for? You got my bacon out of the fire. Not the first time, not remotely the last time.”

Luca was worse than Hunting-Hawk. Luke took a couple breaths. “Because I was an idiot, and I got all messed up about – about you being a Daeva. And it meant I didn’t Keep you as well as I could have.”

“Oh, that.” Mike flapped a hand at him. “Come on, I figured it out a long time ago. Back then, I just didn’t know you’d been raised by Mara and humans. It makes everything make so much more sense. Besides,” Mike grinned at him, “if I got upset every time you were an idiot, I’d always be mad at you.”

“Damnit, Treesap, can’t you take anything seriously?” He didn’t mean to bellow, but he was feeling like everything fit wrong, and Mike just kept smiling at him.

And now the smile got a little sickly around the edges. “No, Feathers. Because if I take it seriously I’ll weep, and then you’ll bellow, and we’ll both be miserable, and that’s not what either of us want. You’re sorry. I hear you. But I don’t know why, and I don’t know what it means.”

“What it…” Luke sat down – there were always backless stools in Mike’s office, even though Mike’s Students almost never had wings – with a heavy thump. “It means I was a moron to push you away.”

“You were a Mara. I mean, I know it’s nearly the same word for a reason, but it’s not like I expect any different. Look, Luca.” Mike leaned forward, chin in hands, elbows on knees. “I accept your apology. I mean, it’s nice you finally realized you were kind of a jerk. But I’m not kidding. You saved my life that time. You’ve saved my life loads. And I appreciate that more than I’m worried about you being sort of, uh, brusque and unwilling as a Keeper all those years ago.”

“But…” Luke sighed. This was not what he’d expected, not at all.

“Think some more,” Mike advised. Somehow, Luke couldn’t even take offense from it. “When you figure out what you want, let me know.”


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Beauty-Beast 5: Drive Home

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“Down three stairs here, right – now. There you go. You’re quite good at this.” Sir guided Ctirad down the stairs, his arm very warm and his grip pleasantly firm.

“Would you believe practice?”

“At the moment, from you, I’d believe any number of things, my handsome dear. Did Ermenrich know what you are? How good you are?”

“He…” Ctirad considered his answers. “Didn’t really care, sir. He was interested in what he wanted, and that was about as far as it went.”

“A short-sighted man in many ways. Ah, well. Door here, hold on.” The sound of a door being opened was followed by faint traffic noises. Not on the road they were on, then. Ctirad wondered where, exactly, they were. One of Sir’s buildings? One of Ermenrich’s? He didn’t think even his former master would have left him in an abandoned building helpless to wait for his new owner.

Not, at least, if it would cause the deal to fall through.

“All right, we’re going to get into the car. Here we go, mind your head.” Sir’s hand was very firm on the back of Ctirad’s head as he steered him down and into a car. It smelled like leather and cleaner, like it had very recently been detailed.

He scooted over and felt Sir’s leg next to his, and then the door closed firmly. “We’re going home, please.”

“Yes, sir.” The voice was a warm alto. Ctirad could tell almost nothing from it about the speaker, except that they were in front of him, in the driver’s seat, and that there wasn’t glass.

“Now.” He could feel Sir shifting, his knee leaving contact only to brush against Ctirad’s leg again. “We’re not in private, but we’re not in public, either, so what happens for the next half hour is, at least in part, up to you.”

That was new. Ctirad wanted badly to open his eyes, if only to see what sort of body language went with that. “Sir?” had to suffice instead.


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Worldbuilding Month Day 10: Worlds of Difference

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it! (I need more questions, guys)
This tenth one is from [ profile] ladyRowyn: Do you have any worlds that aren’t Earth-like in general shape/climate/vegetation? why/why not?

Okay, I have to think about that one!

Okay, so something like 9/10 of my worlds are immediately out of the running because they’re “in a world much like our own;” i.e., urban fantasy, for the most part, the sort of thing where it’s very familiar to readers because it’s Earth (and usually America), just with magic: Aunt Family, Stranded World, Fae Apoc, Planners, Facets, Shadow Rebellion, Tír na Cali, Bug Invasion, Fairy Town, Cracks, Science! (okay, Science! is Earth, just with Science!), Inner Circle.

Then there’s settings where we never really see the world – Dragons Next Door, Unicorn/Factory…

Okay, things actually set on a different world: Reiassan, which is goats and linen and rice and parsnips, just after a little ice age. That’s pretty earth-like. I mean, the continents are different…

Things Unspoken is a giant sprawling Empire in something that is pseudo-European in many ways. I haven’t really looked at the climate, but I haven’t explored much of the World, although there is at least a map.

Space Accountant is on a ship in space. Foedus Planatarum is in space – but starts with Earth, if you look far enough back. Jahnan’s planet would be a lot different from Earth, but we’ve never seen it.

I’m thinking the closest I get here is enclosed environments – asteroids, that sort of thing. Maybe something on Colonies, but they don’t get a whole lot of attention.

Now that I’ve looked at this, I think the “why not” is that, while I enjoy worldbuilding, I’ve never really gotten a kick out of “how do things turn out if the environment is completely different?” and that’s really what those stories seem to be, to me. But now I might feel the need to try something like that, because challenges.

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