Archive | April 9, 2017

Beauty-Beast 10: Impressions

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“Ctirad.” There was a hand on his chin, with a grip that he would have to fight to get out of. He held even stiller, if that was possible. “I did not buy you to use you. I bought you to have you, yes. To own you. But not to use you.”

“But…” Ctirad felt his brow furrow. “Why? And…” He considered his question before deciding he had already pushed all his limits and might as well keep pushing. “What’s the difference? And why have slaves if you’re not going to use them?”

“That – well, both of those, it’s going to take time to answer, because the answers need to be lived. But the short version is, if I’m using you, it has nothing to do with you, just a vessel for my wants.”

“…I Belong to you, sir.”

“Sir,” Sal said quietly from the front seat. “When you end Ermenrich, can I be there?”

Ctirad flinched back, although the hand on his chin kept him from moving far. “I’m fine,” he protested. “You make it sound like I’m sort of whipped dog and he was holding the whip.”

“I’m sorry, Ctirad.” The hand released his chin, only to appear a moment later on his shoulder. “You’re right. You have… beliefs that don’t mesh with how I handle Keeping, that’s all.”

The rush of misery that flooded over Ctirad was nothing new, yet somehow it was even worse than it had been with Ermenrich. He bowed his head and held his shoulders stiff and tight and straight. “I’m sorry, sir,” he muttered. “I’ll try-”

“Balls. Listen, please. Just try – not an order, a request – try to give it a couple weeks until you can see how things work in my household before assuming you’re going to be pimped out or put out on a leash to kill, all right? I want you to understand how I want to treat you, but I don’t think you can, yet.”

“I’m sorry, sir.” he didn’t know what to do with not an order. He clenched his fists in his lap and waited for punishment or explanation of his mistakes.

He didn’t expect the soft hand on his cheek. “I know it’s not going to be easy. But I think you can adjust, if you trust me a little bit and give me a little time to show you what I want of you – and what you can expect from me in return. All right?”

What was he supposed to say to that? “Yes, sir.” He tried not to lean into the touch, but it felt good, and he had not been touched so much in the last two months as he had since Timaios had taken possession of him.

“I think – I think it is time for you to see me.” Timaios still sounded reluctant. Ctirad was beginning to get concerned about what his new Owner must look like. “I think I have to start introducing you to me sooner rather than later. You can open your eyes.”

Ctirad opened his eyes slowly, letting himself adjust to the light. It was late in the day, the sun not too bright, but he’d had his eyes closed for a while.

He blinked a few times before his new Owner’s face came into view, and then he blinked a few more times. “You’re…” He worked his jaw and blinked again.

“Yes,” Timaios agreed. “That’s the first reaction.”

“…. You’re Tim Kaprinsky. You’re the mogul. The- uh. The mogul heir. You’re Tim Kaprinsky? And you wanted me. And Ermenrich crossed you. And – and you wanted me.”

“Yes.” His new owner nodded. His face, along with being famous, was perfect, chiseled cheekbones, firm chin, dark brown hair just long enough to look tousled, skin just a few shades lighter than his hair, eyes a sort of golden hazel. Ctirad worked his jaw a couple more times and thought about being the bedroom toy of Tim Kaprinsky.


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Second Worldbuilding Post of the Night – ‘Verse without a Name – my Camp Nano Project

I’ve been doing some worldbuilding for my as-of-yet-unnamed-World for my Camp Nano Project, which is either called The Hidden City or Dealer’s Choice or Where the Wild THINGS Went.

[personal profile] clare_dragonfly asked: Do the three different capitalized types use different kinds of magic?


Well, yes and no.

Okay, so most of the organized magic in this world works in Signs, Sigils and Designs, a Sigil being a more complicated Sign and a Design being a more complicate Sigil or pattern of Sigils.

But the different types of workers for The Agencies – Agents, Workers, and Faces, I said, but I think Agents are Hands. And I’m not entirely sure about Workers, they might be Eyes – well, each of them specialize in different sorts of those things.

For instance, a Face is going to be very good at nothing interesting to see here and there’s nothing strange going on. They’re all about making things appear as normal as possible, so that people don’t panic, even when their government, at least The Agencies in their government, are doing awful things.

An Eye is going to be good at surveillance signs, the sort of thing that tells them what happens, or if someone crosses a certain trip-line point, or if a specific person touches that sign. They set up designs looking for certain sets of words, or for certain complaints.

A Worker, a Hand, will use signs to enforce compliance, or to strengthen them, or to protect them – combat magic, more or less. They are aimed at being the elite forces of The Agencies, and magic is certainly part of that.

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Worldbuilding – ‘Verse without a Name – my Camp Nano Project

The Agencies started as three small agencies connected to larger government organizations:

One devoted to the searching out, researching, and weaponizing-if-possible the magic that many people had known had existed but nobody really wanted to admit to.

One d aimed at finding and suppressing terrorist and other threats to the US by use of human and electronic surveillance.

One aimed at convincing the US public that nothing untoward was going on, that the world was safe, and that everything was okay.

Once the second two organizations found out about the first, they saw immediate uses for magic in the implementation of their mission plans; once the first found out about the second, it, too, found uses for them.

They don’t exist as budget line items, but they are well-funded. They slide their budget into small things (expensive toilet seats) use non-Congressionally-approved methods of gaining funding, and sell seized property for a profit when it suits them.

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More of Mélanie’s story (Mdom not asshole)

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Mélanie raised her eyebrows at her new owner.

“You enjoy making no sense?”

“Well, yeah. Wouldn’t you?”

“I, ah. I can’t say I would. Sir. Well…” She gave it some thought, mostly because of the cheerful eyebrow-wiggle he was aiming in her direction. “Well. I… sometimes, with certain annoying people, yes. But I don’t think that I qualify as that – at least not yet? – do I? Sir?” She was starting to get a little nervous. She managed to keep a smile on her face, but that was almost entirely because it had already been there when she started.

“No. Hardly not. In the five minutes I’ve owned you, you’ve been a champ. An absolute dear.”

The praise made her feel better enough – made her feel more than better enough, but she could cope with the surge of elation. That, she remembered, faded in time – enough that she could give him a little playful smirk right back. “Oh, come now, it’s been at least seven minutes.”

“Has it? Oh, dear, we’re getting precious close to that ten-minute mark where you’ll stop finding me entertaining and start finding me irritating.”

“Do tell me when that’s suppose to be?” Oh, no, she was playing along. That was going to be harder to cope with in the long run than passing elation. “I wouldn’t want to get it wrong.”

“Mélanie, you strike me as the sort of woman who is going to be an absolute blast to own.”

“I hope, sir, that you mean that in the ‘fun and entertaining’ and not the ‘explosive and shooting into space’ sort of way.” She shot him a smile that she would absolutely regret later, but right now was way too much fun to not let out.

“Oh, but what if I find ‘explosive and shooting into space’ to be fun an entertaining?” He grinned widely back at her, showing a mouth of teeth that was clean, very clean, and startlingly white.

“…is your innate power Personal Dentist or something?” she asked before she could stop herself.

He snorted. “No. Not exactly. But, ah. Well, I can explain that later. Let’s just say I like good hygiene, shall I?”

“So you’re the world’s cleanest Robin Hood?”

“Oh,what gave you the idea that I was Robin Hood? I mean,” he fake-shuddered, “he gave his earnings away.”

“You know, I thought that his scheme of setting up a ‘toll booth’ in the middle of a forest was quite clever, though. As long as you could move the toll booth from place to place.”

He eyed her for a minute, while the horses ambled down the road. “You really are going to be entertaining to own.”

“I live to please, sir.” She bowed from her place on the bench. “So. Where are we going?”

“Oh, to a little place in the middle of the forest where I keep my findings.”

“And I suppose I count as a finding?” She hoped he didn’t live in a cave. She thought she could handle most living situations, after living in a slaver’s cage, but she wasn’t so sure about a cave.

“You count as a treasure. We’ll see, once you’ve decided I’m no longer amusing, what else you count as.”

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Lady Taisiya’s 4th Husband, Chapter 21: Hatched That Way – a fantasy/romance story

Find Chapter 1 here
Chapter 2 is here
Chapter 3 is here
Chapter 4 is here
Chapter 5 is here
Chapter 6 is here
Chapter 7 is here.
Chapter 8: here
Chapter 9: here

Chapter 10: here

Chapter 11 (R-Rated) here
Chapter 12: here
Chapter 13: here
Chapter 14: here
Chapter 15: here
Chapter 16: here
Chapter 17: here
Chapter 18: here
Chapter 19: here

Chapter 20: here

You can skip Chapter 11 without losing the plot.

It was a small thing, but it stuck with Sefton. He chewed on it alongside his breakfast, and pondered it while he did chores.

The youngest husbands and the oldest kids had chores, that’s how it always was. Onter and Callum weren’t lazing around, of course – Onter was helping Lady Taisiya with something and Callum was teaching the young egglings, the ones too young for school. The older kids were off at classes today, so it was up to Jaco and Sefton to do basic cleaning on the house and, on top of that and in many cases before that, to clean up the messes from the bandits.

“What do you think they’ll do about the nursery door?” Sefton scrubbed at the blood on the tiles. The bandit hadn’t even been wounded that badly, but he’d mad quite a mess of the floor.

“The way the bandits just got in? Maybe nothing. I mean, you don’t want a nursery the wife can’t get into.”

“Who would ever lock the nursery from the inside against their wife?” Sefton frowned at the door and then back at Jaco.

Jaco snorted. “Kid, you’re not really that naive, are you?… you are, aren’t you? Look, some husbands don’t want to be married – let me finish. Some men don’t want to be married. Some men accept that that’s their lot in life and adjust. Some do more than adjust, they fall into it with both feet and are over their heads in no time. They end up loving their position, loving their wife, loving their brother-husbands; everything’s fine. They’re great. Some kind of suffer through – some of those take it out on the kids, some are decent fathers but just tolerable husbands. You see where I’m going, right?”

Sefton nodded slowly. “Marriage isn’t for everybody, but almost everybody gets married.” His shell-father had told him that, just before Sefton’s wedding to Lady Taisiya.”

“Exactly. So. Some of those people, they don’t suffer quietly. They don’t sort of tool around being miserable and they don’t adjust.”

Like you? Sefton didn’t say it, because he knew that wasn’t the sort of “not adjusting” Jaco was talking about.

“They get violent,” Jaco continued, “or they get rebellious – and I mean really rebellious, not the sort of half-assed rebellion I put up. And them? They’ll lock themselves in the nursery and hold the egglings hostage. I’ve heard of it happening. Even their own shell-kids.”

Sefton sucked in air. He’d heard it before – fathers turning against the egglings, even against their shell-children, but it seemed more real coming from Jaco. “They wouldn’t…”

“They would. And that’s why a wife always needs a way to get into her own nursery, junior.”

“That’s awful.” Sefton shook his head. “Surely none of us…?”

“No. Onter and Callum are good men. I’m a bad husband, but I’m not a bad father. You, I’ve got faith in you so far. you’re a nice good husband, aren’t you?’

The praise both felt warm and stung. Sefton frowned. “I’m – well, yeah. I don’t want to be – well, I know what happens to bad husbands.”

“Ah. So you’re a good husband because the option is to be bad, and being really bad – not like me, I assume?”

“I’m not sure I could do what you do,” Sefton admitted. The floor under his rag was gleaming. The blood stain was long gone. He moved over another slate and started again. “But I don’t think she’d put you out for anything you do.”

“You could become a bandit. Not you, I mean.” Jaco looked over at him. “Can’t see you stealing daughters. Can’t see you hurting egglings at all.”

The thought made him sick. Sefton stared at the spot on the floor. “No.” He shouldn’t need to say more than that; he wasn’t even sure what he could say other than that. “No, I wouldn’t ever hurt egglings.”

“Yeah. Like I said, I have faith in you. But really, even bad husbands have choices.”

“But once you’re married – no,” Sefton shook his head. “Even before you’re married, making any of those choices means leaving everything. Once you’re married, there’s more chance you’re going to leave an eggling behind. I mean, some of these are your shell-children, right?”

It wasn’t exactly a polite question, but it wasn’t like kids didn’t know who had hatched them, either. Jaco’s voice softened when he answered, too, so Sefton assumed he hadn’t given offense.

“Three of them are mine by shell. And the one in the incubator, of course. You’ll have one of your own soon. She likes to make sure you’ve got something to focus on right from the beginning, you know.”

“That makes sense.” Sefton nodded slowly. An egg… an egg of his own. When he’d been little, he and some of the others had played “tending the egg,” the way they’d played “hunting bandits” and “cooking dinner” and “fighting on the open seas.” He’d watched his fathers, and seen the tender face they got, looking a the eggs. He thought about the children already here. “I think I’ll like that.”

“Takes a hell of a hard, broken man not to like his own egg,” Jaco opined. “Some of them, once it’s out of the shell, it’s different, but I’ve seen you with the kids already. They’re going to be just-hatched forever in your minds, aren’t they?”

“I know they’re not infants,” Sefton protested, but he knew that wasn’t what Jaco meant. “…yeah. I’m going to be cuddling them and patting their backs when they’re ready to go off to their marriage vows.”

“Yep.” Jaco nodded. “You’ve got it in spades.”

“Got what?” Sefton looked up from his cleaning again. Jaco was focusing on the floor, but he was smirking broadly.

“The father thing. The nurturing instinct. Some people don’t – like I said, the bastards who’d kill babies – on the other hand, some people have it in buckets. We’re supposed to, so you, my boy, are a product of very good genetic engineering. Me, on the other hand, I’m okay. But I’ll never be more than okay at it. It’s just the way I was hatched.”


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Throwing Things – more of the Cya Carew Story

Directly after Rocks

She took his hand, because she needed to reassure herself that he really was fine. “I don’t-” she started, and fell quiet. There were too many ways to end that sentence and she didn’t like any of them.

He glanced over at her, and she recognized the expression, even if he looked nothing like Cabal, nothing like Gaheris. “I got it.” He was quiet for a minute, as she led him out of Leo’s house and down the quiet neighborhood street. “You don’ like, uh. Being emotive.”

She snorted, laughing at herself, at his phrasing, at the whole mess. “Let’s be honest,” she said, dryly and more openly than she usually was with her Kept. “I don’t like having emotions. But Leo – thinks that’s a mess, and Dr. Rexinger agrees, and if I’m going to be entirely honest, if one of my Kept told me they didn’t like having emotions, I’d spend the whole year helping them work through that. So I try to have emotions. But I don’t -”

“How long?” he asked, when she had found no words to finish that I don’t…

“Not feeling? Trying not to feel? Decades. A long time. Since after school.” Since after school. Since she learned that she couldn’t help Leo with Eriko, and that showing emotion around that crew, her Keeper’s crew, was an admission of weakness and an invitation to correction.

Cya didn’t like being wrong. She hadn’t liked being wrong, being corrected, as a teenager, a lifetime ago.

“That’s a long time,” he said, and for a child of twenty-three, that sentence in and of itself was a fair assessment. Then he looked up at her, looking worried. “That’s a really long time to be pretending you weren’t angry.”

She looked away. “When – when I let Leo know, sometimes it messed with him. When he was really crazy, it could send him away, either actually or just make the conversation get lost. So I stopped, well, I stopped feeling it, so I didn’t send him off into the deep end.”

“But he’s been sane for a while, didn’t you say?” He sounded a little uncertain, like he didn’t want to push and yet thought he ought to. She couldn’t blame him for that one.

“He’s been better for quite a while. But then, well. I had to get better.” She laughed, although it had no humor. “Habits, I’m all about habits. I get messed up when those get shaken, you know?”

“I-” He didn’t sound like he knew. She couldn’t fault him for that, either.

“…I stopped feeling it, and then I forgot I could again, and by that time, I’d stopped feeling things as much as I could.”

“But now you’re learning how to feel again?” he guessed.

“Yeah.” She looked over at him. In the dim light of the streetlights, his face looked like it could be anyone’s. That made this all the weirder, like she was talking to generations of her Kept. No, she reminded herself firmly, just one. Carew. We’re here, today, and that’s it. “Now,” she tried the words on for size, “I’m letting myself feel. And it’s-”

“Weird,” he offered. “Like learning a skill. Did you tell me,” he offered, “something about learning a new skill every decade? And all the messed-up pots and twisted ankles and bad phrases in Russian nobody ever sees?”

“…I did.” Every once in a while, one of her Kept actually paid attention. “Yeah.”

“So,” he offered, “this is a skill, right? Like, uh. Like teaching Jeska how to exist around humans, and how to have leisure time? Something that’s gonna come with some trial-and-error?”

“..Yeah.” She nodded slowly. It stood to reason that the Kept who’d befriended a former Nedetaka might know about learning skills most people took for granted.”Yeah, I guess it is a skill. But, k- Puppy, Carew, when I mess up throwing a pot it doesn’t send you fleeing to Leo’s.”

“Well,” he offered, with a crooked smile that looked too much like one she sometimes glimpsed in the mirror, “if I thought Leo – sa – Lightning – you know – if I thought he’d come talk you down from messing up pots, I might.”

She hugged him, because he was a clever boy, and she was going to miss him when his year was up. “Thanks, puppy,” she whispered. They both ignored the way his tail wagged happily at that.

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