Archive | June 2017


First: Slaves, School
Previous: Force and Shields

It was almost as if their schedule had alternated interesting and boring classes. Their next class, with Professor Resaginotel, a tall woman with brilliant white hair shot through with streaks of black and a collar that matched, was on paperwork and regulations regarding magic and collared people. Desmond struggled to pay attention until they reached the overview of the accounting.

The nation owned the collared people, or at least it owned their time and service.

But people paid for those services and that time – for things like guarding a boat when it went on the water, or protecting a caravan, or moving a lot of rock. So there were hours to be accounted for, and a rate dependent on a large list of factors. For about twenty minutes, Desmond was in heaven, figuring out his current hourly rate for different tasks and helping Doria do the same.

Kayay still hadn’t returned when they moved on to their fourth class, which turned out to be Portals and Doorways.

Their professor, Professor Kelofaide, counted heads, shook their head, and moved on. “Today we are going to learn the most basic portal, which is a way to keep your books on your shelf until you need them. That is, it is a fixed portal on both ends, one end being your shelf in your dormitory and the other being your hand, and it is small, no bigger than the largest of your books. You’ll find this one quite handy, I believe, when you’re on the trail. So. Picture a portal, ask your collar for help, and then picture, very clearly, your dormitory bed and the shelf therein.”

Excited, Desmond did as instructed. That would make their growing load of books easier to handle, and the other things he could do with that…

His portal fizzled at a coin-sized hole and disappeared.

“Hello?” he muttered quietly. “Can we do a portal? To my shelf”

::You should’ve asked the first time, but I was with you. All right, picture your shelf. You left your spare cravat on it – there, yes. Just like that. Your visualization is quite good. And…::

This time, it got nearly big enough for Desmond’s hand before it fizzled.

Next to him, Doria was happily putting all her books from Paperwork and Regulations on her shelf. “I could take yours, too,” she offered. “It’s not like we’re not right next to each other.” Her portal had a pink edge around it and seemed to glow, and it was big enough that they could have tossed Cataleb through it.

“This basic portal is not designed for living things.” Professor Kelofaide’s voice seemed to cut right into Desmond’s thoughts. And perhaps that was exactly what happened. Maybe thought-reading was a later class.

::Much later, and only for certain students. But I’ll bet you’ll be in it.::

“We have,” Professor Kelofaide continued, “attempted such with mice and rats, and the results are… well, to put it kindly, they are unreliable. We do not use these portals for moving anything living, although a piece of fruit or such will most often come through unscathed.”

Most often was not, Desmond considered, all that reassuring. He might not be all that fond of Cataleb, but not enough to risk unreliable results.

::Portal first, Cataleb later:: suggested his collar.

The collar had a point. Desmond focused on the portal, thinking about his shelf and his books, his bedroom and his window and -” Once again, the portal fizzled away.

“Shit,” Desmond muttered quietly. He could do forcefields, why couldn’t he manage this?

::Because this is the opposite. You need to stop thinking of blocking, of pushing, and start thinking of opening. It may not be easy. All right. Eyes closed. Shelf, nothing but the shelf.::

Desmond had almost gotten it in his mind when Professor Kelofaide stopped in front of his desk. “How is it going… Desmond, is it?”

“It’s, uh. not going very well.” Desmond demonstrated his fizzling portal.

“Hrrumph. Well, keep trying.” The professor moved on, clearly disappointed in Desmond.

“Here.” Doria shifted over next to him. “Try like…” She reached her arms under his and put one hand on the outside of each of Desmond’s hands. “Now, I think about reaching my hand through like I’m just picking up my books.”

Desmond muttered “please?” at his collar and focused on reaching through to get his books. He pushed power through.

The portal opened to the size of a deck of cards and splattered greenly over everything. Desmond felt the goo that splattered slide over his hand and vanish, leaving the faintest green residue.

Professor Kelofaide clucked at him. “You cannot use power to substitute for finesse. Doria, what are are you doing?”

“I’m helping him. Or, at least, I’m trying to.”

“And what does that gain you?” Professor Kelofaide looked down a long, beaklike nose at Doria.

She lifted her chin and smiled just as sharply as that nose back up at their professor. “Well, by teaching someone else, I better understand the theory behind what I’m doing. One. And also, by having my House be better at portals, I increase the reputation of said house. Two. And also, by feeling what Desmond is doing as he does it, I learn how to do interesting things on purpose. Like so.” She moved her hands away from Desmond’s and made a small portal that exploded with greenish-grey light. “Three. But I also get to put my hands on Desmond’s, which was entertaining. May I continue, professor?”

The Professor was very still for a moment. “I believe you and your collar may have chosen the wrong color. But do carry on, please, rather than interrupt my class further.”

Desmond didn’t point out that the Professor had done the interrupting first, and neither did Doria. Instead they went back to practicing portals.

By the end of the class, hands covered in a thin green film, Desmond had managed just enough of a portal to pull through a cravat, although not large enough to put his books through yet. Taking pity on him, Doria put his books on her shelf.


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The Cats’ Ways – a story of Fairy Town for Patreon

After The Fairy Road and Planting Some Good, but readable having not read them.

There was a cat in the park in the middle of the city.

There were always cats in the park – in all the parks, but in this one, crossed by two paths and so thick with spirits and ghosts, history and legend one could barely move for it, the cats congregated. Continue reading

Patreon: Onions, a fishy repost, and Taco Salad!

So we tried a thing last night and it actually turned out well!

We had ground beef to eat and it was way too hot for eating spaghetti or hamburgers or anything too hot.
Available for all “Recipe Box” patrons!

Originally posted June 16, 2011.
The sushi bar had a mermaid in its fish tank.

I was new in town, having just recently parlayed my experience with the Agency into a cushy consulting gig and my hazard pay into a nice little house…

Read on!

These are walking onions. They make bulbs on the top of their stalks, which make another stalk with another bulb, which makes… you guessed it, another stalk with another bulb!!

Take a Peek!

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The Hidden Mall Part VII

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

💸 💰 💸 💰 💸

Abigail and Liv looked around the deserted mall. “It’s like we found a future version of our mall, some time when it was abandoned, like in a post-apoc movie. Except…” Liv looked around slowly. “It doesn’t match up. There’s a fountain down there and there should be a plus intersection, not a T. And the two-stories part doesn’t go as far as our mall does.”

“Except,” Abigail pointed out, wanting to make some sense of this despite the fact that it was patently not sensible, “we haven’t actually left our mall.”

“I think we have. We entered on the first floor. This is the second floor.” Liv started walking down the hall.

“That can happen… with stores in hills…? Where are you going, Liv? Liv, slow down!”

“I’m looking for Rue 21. If we can find an entrance, maybe we can get back into the nice background mall, and from there we can hit that bookstore you wanted and then go back to find my mom. I don’t think that book lady was being… nice.”

“She wanted your blood, Liv, and you didn’t even blink! I don’t think she was being nice, either!” Abigail hurried to keep up, dropping her voice to a whisper and still trying to be heard. “Liv, think about this. We don’t know where we are, we don’t know what’s going on, we don’t know if we’re going to get in trouble, and someone already took your blood and put it in some sort of magic book!”

“Abigail, listen to yourself. There’s no such thing as magi-” Liv trailed off.

“What? What?” Abigail caught up with her friend, only to find her staring into an empty store, the gate askew and half-open, the room inside grey and dismal looking. “Liv?” She whispered it this time. “Liv, what… oh.”

She touched Liv’s arm, and it was like it turned on a switch. The rest of the mall was still dusty and grey, but in this storefront, its entrance like a gaping clown mouth, a carnival was dancing around silently. “Liv?” she whispered again.

Liv set her hand over Abigail’s on her arm, and Abigail could hear it: the carnival music, the laughter, the singing. The screams. The roller-coaster screams, her brain filled in, but something in her said no. “Liv.” She braced her feet as Liv headed towards the giant clown maw. “LIV!”

The music stopped. The carnival rides stopped. Inside, everyone was staring at them.

And then they all started laughing.
💸 💰 💸 💰 💸


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Worldbuilding Day Six Part 1: Gender and Sexuality

Desmond’s World
Okay, yay, gender in Desmond’s world!

Gender in this world – or at least in this nation – is marked by clothing, by behavior, and by voiced preference. The clothing is pseudo-Edwardian in style, so it is often the case that Male People wear Pants, Female People Wear Skirts, and so on.

However, people a) sometimes choose to wear robes that hide everything, thus obscuring the question of gender – often for political-functionary roles where gender has no place in the role.

Many roles are still very gendered: someone has to stay home and watch the children, someone has to do the heavy labor, someone has to make meals, and these are often but not always split along gender lines. However, one can choose to put on the role and pronouns of either gender – although in a marriage or other partnership, it is generally considered polite to discuss such things with your partner and work out the roles ahead of time or, if not ahead of time, in teamwork with your partner.

Marriages are often for a combination of procreation and protection of the young, especially among the lower classes, and for those things and for financial unions among the upper classes. Thus, it is generally considered useful to have two people with the appropriate sex organs to make a child together in a marriage, but there are several ways around this, and nobody would ever ask outside of that partnership or forming one. What sex organs you have and who you have sex with is generally considered private business as long as it does not lead to babies.

Babies are raised as genderless until they begin to express a preference, at which point they are generally dressed as that preference until they take over dressing themselves.

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Beauty-Beast 20: Good Kitten

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This chapter features a lot of description that wanders around the edges of sex without describing penetration or intercourse..


“Mm, Come on, lovely, you did wonderfully.” Their guests had been seen to the door, and now Timaios’ arm was around Ctirad’s shoulders. “You were a very good kitten for me. Thank you.”

Ctirad’s head was swimming. He normally had a head for alcohol, but there had been several bottles of wine, he hadn’t had anything of the sort in years, and now he was getting praised. “Thank you, sir. Thank you. I tried..”

“You did beautifully. Can you handle the stairs?”

“Of course. Could handle stairs dead-drunk and carrying three people.”

Oh, he probably shouldn’t have said that. He ducked his head and looked at his feet.

Timaios was laughing. Of course he was. This man laughed at everything.

“Good. Good boy. Come on, up with you. I’m going to pour you into bed and then we can think about more interesting things in the morning.”

Ctirad stumbled as a surge of guilt hit him. “m’ still awake, sir, can be interesting if you want to.” First he’d been too hungry and then he’d been too full and now he was too sleepy. He was seriously lousy at this.

“No, my kitten. I got you drunk, and I got you overfull, and I am not going to take advantage of you in this state.”

He must be drunker than he thought he was. “Sir? Timaios? You own me.”

“I do. And I am not going to have my first time with you be when you are too drunk to properly appreciate it.” Timaios patted Ctirad’s ass gently. “Here, up, there we go. Clothes off and into bed – that bed, there, the big one. I hope you don’t snore.”

“Nobody’s ever complained of that, sir.” He stripped off his pants, folded them and put them on a nearby bench before sliding into bed.

Much to his surprise, Timaios – similarly clad in nothing – slipped into bed next to him. “Good night, kitten.”

“Good night, sir.” If this place got any stranger, Ctirad was going to have to relearn everything he knew.


His bladder woke him, and the strange warm feeling of being pressed against his Owner, and the safe feeling of his Owner’s arm over him.

He could go a long time without moving to use the bathroom. But on the other hand, Timaios seemed to like a small amount of the pretense of making his own decisions.

On the other, other hand, Timaios had said if I haven’t told you to stay somewhere, and he had told Ctirad to go to bed.

In the end, the growing pressure of his bladder without the firmness of a solid stay there order to lean back against made Ctirad slip carefully out from under Timaios’ arm and very, very carefully make his way to the bathroom.

When he returned, his breath caught as he noticed Timaios was awake.

“Why don’t you turn back around-” his master began, and Ctirad tensed, even as he obeyed – “and wash yourself off all nice and good for me.” There was nothing but pleased warmth in his voice, but Ctirad had already turned around and couldn’t watch Timaios’ face. “I think you’re sober now, no?”

“Yes, sir.” He walked into the bathroom – didn’t close the door this time; he wanted Timaios to see he was doing exactly what he’d been told. “And I’m not too hungry or too full, either,” he offered, a little uncertainly.

Timaios chuckled. “Good. Good, and I am also neither too full nor too hungry nor drunk. Mmmmm,” he added, a deep rumble of appreciation, as Ctirad bent over, ass towards the bed, to let his master view him cleaning himself very thoroughly. “Mmm.. yes. That’s good. I don’t want you to chafe yourself raw, my dear kitten. That’s my job. Now come here.”

Ctirad dropped to all fours, feeling at the moment very feline – and very pet-like – and slunk across the floor as if he had his tail in the air. He felt very exposed, and very raw indeed, and his heart was pounding in his chest the way it never did when he was in a fight.

“Good. Gods, you’re gorgeous. Up here on the bed, that’s a good kitten, let me look you over.”

Timaios’ hands ran all over Ctirad, stroking, pinching, squeezing, commenting. “You’ve got some scars. And I still haven’t dealt with this awful collar.” He put his hand in the back of the collar and gave it a little tug.

Ctirad closed his eyes and let the collar press against his throat. “Hawthorn and rowan. Most were from fights.”

“Mm. Now isn’t the time to ask about the others. Let’s see.” He began murmuring, Old Tongue and Greek. It took Ctirad a moment to realize he was reshaping the collar, reforming it. “I could,” he said, as he tested the way the lighter, thinner-feeling collar pressed against Ctirad’s throat, “make you a new one. But we’re reshaping your Keeping. We’ll reshape your collar to match. Now.” He released the collar. “Onto your back, my pretty kitten, hands behind your head, and close your eyes. Knees up and spread, good boy. Tell me if I do anything you find unpleasant. Tell me if I do anything you don’t like.”

Ctirad rolled and positioned himself, closed his eyes and put his hands behind his head – and whined. “I – sir?”

Anything you don’t like, Ctirad.”

“I don’t like having my eyes closed sir.” He spat it out as fast as he could. He couldn’t kneel or bow his head or really anything, so he held very still.

Timaios considered. “Can you leave them closed for a little while for me? Does it make you feel bad?”

“Just – just helpless, sir.”

That was the problem. Helpless wasn’t always bad.

Helpless might even be okay, with the right handler. Owner.

“All right. Keep your eyes shut for now. If it moves to actually bad, tell me. Immediately. All right?”

“Yes – yes sir.” He put his head back against the pillow and wiggled till he felt like he was in position. He was completely exposed, his spread legs showing everything off.

Hopefully Timaios liked what he’d bought.

“Hold as still as you can for me. Good kitten. Good.” Timaios’s hand settled on Ctirad’s ankle and slowly moved upwards. Ctirad could feel the bed shift as Timaios moved, coming up closer to Ctirad’s hip, as his hand brushed over Ctirad’s knee and down the slope Ctirad’s raised legs made, towards his hip. He could feel Timaios’ breath on his knee. He could feel his fingers just under his hip bone. “You’ve got a lovely body. Will you show me it as it really is?”

“…Drop my Mask, sir?” No, please no.

“Just as you did last night. I wish to know what I’m really touching.”

“In bed, sir? I mean… yes, sir.” He shifted his Mask to show his body as it truly was. “As you wish, sir.”

“Timaios,” he corrected gently. “Please.”

“…Yes, Timaios.”

“Thank you.” His hand slid back up Citrad’s leg while his other hand started downward from Ctirad’s collarbone, tracing a line down the center of Ctirad’s body to his navel. Up and down, back and forth, his hands brushing all over Ctirad’s body, but avoiding his nipples, his balls, his penis, his throat. “You’re delicious. I could eat you up.”

Ctirad swallowed and dared to speak. “I could – I could enjoy that, sir, Timaios, from you.”

There was a silence that went on long enough that he wanted to open his eyes, even though Timaios’ hands kept moving up and down, round and round. And then a soft chuckle. “That was brave of you, wasn’t it?”

“…” He didn’t want to say anything at all. But the hands had stilled now, and he wanted them to touch him more. “Yes?” he tried. “It was, uh. It was nerve-wracking?”

“And you did it anyway.” The hands started moving again. “I’m pleased. Is this too hard for you? I want you to be able to enjoy yourself.”
Ctirad swallowed a keening noise so that it almost didn’t make it out of his mouth. That wasn’t an order, that wasn’t an order, there were enough buffer words in there that – the hands had stopped. “Don’t stop, please? Please, I like it. I just…”

“Okay.” The hands began moving again. “You just…?”

“It’s hard to know what’s okay, when I can’t watch your face.”

“Then we’ll assume everything’s okay, how’s that?”

“No? No, I mean,” he swallowed down on panic. “What if I say something wrong?”

A hand pinched very lightly at the tender part of his inner thigh. “While we’re in bed, here, today, there is no ‘wrong,’ all right? I will not take offense and I will neither punish you for nor hold against you anything you say here in bed today. All right?”


“Because I want you to be able to relax and just react. I want to see what you look like when you’re doing that.”

Ctirad considered that, turned it over, and then nods. “Yes, sir. I… I can do that.”

Timaios chuckled a little. “Good. Now…” He wasn’t talking anymore, but his mouth remained busy, exploring all the places that his hands hands.

React. Relax.. Ctirad convinced his mind they were orders, forced his body to relax, and let go, enjoying what Timaios was doing, feeling it, writhing under him. He lifted his hips up as high as they would go and whined when Timaios pulled away, bit his lip and, eventually, begged for more. His voice cracked and squeaked and he swore in pleasure.

When Timaios rolled him onto his stomach, the cool pillow was a relief against his face. He was relaxed, he was reacting, and he had so much room to move like this. He teased Timaios in turn, shifting and wriggling and changing the pace of his hip-rolls, until Timaios grabbed his hips with a pleased-sounding growl and put a stop to that.

When they were done, Timaios rolled Ctirad back onto his back. “You can move your hands now, kitten. And you can open your eyes. You were lovely, you know. Absolutely lovely. Did you enjoy it? Honestly?”

Honestly. Ctirad opened his eyes and looked at his Owner. Yeah, that expression looked sincere. “I did,” he answered. “I really did.”

“Good. Good kitten. I’m quite glad.” Timaios stroked Ctirad’s stomach and chest. “You’re a lot of fun, you know. And you’re beautiful, writhing beneath me. Sadly…” he sighed. “I have to do something to earn my name and my money. Let’s shower and have breakfast, and then I’ll hand you over to my staff while I handle all the boring meetings.”

“Yes, sir.” The praise was making him dizzy. Ctirad thought, as much as he didn’t want Timaios to go away, maybe a little time apart might be a good thing. He was falling fast and hard, and he didn’t really want to know what happened when he hit the bottom.


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An Adventure, Chapter 2

Chapter One:

The darkness inside was disorienting. She looked in, and could see nothing; it was as if no light at all passed through the doorway, not even the creepy red illumination.

She couldn’t turn back now; her fingerprints were on the doorknob. Oxana stepped through, feeling carefully with one foot on the floor and holding her hands in front of her.

The floor felt rough under her feet but level, and nothing met her hands. She took careful step after careful step, reaching out to either side, feeling in front of her, wondering once again was this a good idea?

The answer appeared to be no, but here she was anyway. Her head hurt, probably from the pressure changes down here, and the air tasted damp and stale, like the door hadn’t been open in a long time. Since 1920? she wondered. Or just a few years ago? Was it safe to breathe? There were all sorts of stories about why the dorm had been closed off, after all. She couldn’t remember if one of them had been about gas, or bad air, or carbon monoxide, or anything.

Her hand hit a wall on her left, and then one on her right; as she stepped forward, she could feel the walls on either side of her at once. So the hallway was getting narrower. That seemed like a strange design for a school building, but maybe she’d missed a turn-off in the dark. Turning one wide hallway into two smaller ones – she could see some use for that, although admittedly not a lot.

There were rumors about Edowanda’s builders. Maybe they’d stuck some bodies down here in the concrete. Everyone knew that sort of thing happened a lot here,

The hallway narrowed again, until Oxana had to lower her arms to her sides. She should really turn around, before things got too tight to turn around.

Her foot hit a doorway and she stopped. She felt cautiously forward until she could feel something like a doorknob – it was oblong and knobbly, but it was where a doorknob ought to go, more or less, and it turned under her hand.

She moved the door slowly, glad it opened away from her and not towards her. A crack of light showed between the door and the wall. She squinted her eyes as tightly as she could while still having some vision, and slowly nudged the door open.

The light was nearly blinding, even with her eyes squinted nearly-shut. Slowly, she stepped into the doorway, letting her vision settle. There was a very bright rectangle of light directly in front of her, and dark sections to either side. There was a shadow in the brightness ahead of her. She couldn’t make out more than that. She stepped forward again and, feeling foolish, called out “Hello?”

Her voice sounded weird, hoarse, as if she’d been screaming. She hoped she hadn’t actually been screaming. What a mortifying way to be found by Campus Police, trapped in a basement, hallucinating and screaming her fool head off.

“Hello.” The voice that answered sounded high-pitched, sweet, and not at all like she imagined a Campus Police officer tracking down a ridiculous student in the basement of a forbidden dorm ought to sound like. “I see you have made your way here. And I see you are have made it through the first challenge.”

“…What?” She took a step backwards. “Challenge? What? Is this some sort of secret society?”

“No. No, and yet yes. You found the passage and you made it through the darkness. Not everyone is that brave. So welcome, traveler, to the Unders.”

Oxana blinked again, finally managing to make out the person-like shape in the light. “The… Unders? Under the dorm?”

“Under the dorm, under the school, under the everything. We are Under the world, and you are here with us now. Tell me, would you like to earn a little currency?”

That was a strange way to refer to – well, it was a strange way to refer to everything. Oxana peered, but her eyes were still not making too much sense of the shadowed form. It seemed to have either too many arms or not enough, depending on the moment.

“I’m a college kid,” she joked. “I can always use money.”
“Good, good. We will give you currency, but for that you must come here.”

Well, she’d come this far. Oxana stepped towards the voice. It seemed like the initial impression was far too correct. The woman in front of her looked somewhere between thirty and a hundred, her face still in shadows, her hair long and golden. But she definitely had four arms, and all four were reaching out to Oxana.

It was rude to stare. Oxana swallowed and walked towards the woman. “Where – what is this place?”

“As I said-” The woman sounded patient, for all that she was repeating herself – “this is the Unders.”

“Yes, but. All right. What do you want me to do?”

“For your first task, the task I can give you, take water from this fountain here, and move it into this basin here. The dipper that can be used is this one.”

As the woman gestured, Oxana could see more and more. There was a fountain to the right of the woman that burbled water upwards, and on the left there was a basin of stone with a hole – no, a drain – in the bottom.

“Where does the water go?”

“Down to the next level, where those who need it will drink it. Drink none,” the woman warned her, “or you will not receive any currency.” She held out, with her lower right arm, a dipper that looked brass or maybe gold-plated. It could hold maybe a half-cup of water.

“How much should I move?”

“Until this task is over. I will tell you when the task is over.”

“All right.” She’d sat through studies that were more boring than this, for $5 and a lunch sub platter or something similar. Oxana took the dipper and dipped it into the fountain.

There is an Underschool Pinterest board! Here –

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The Secrets of Scheffenon – now on Patreon

This is of a series with N is for Nereid, O is for Octopi, R is for Rituals, Linguistic Tricks, and Finish It: Scheffenon but stands alone.
The summer was a hot one, a dry one, and, all over the land, fountains had dried up and every drop of water was hoarded.

The weather was as warm as it ever got on the Northern Sea, and the waters were full of bathers from all over the Empire. It was quite the place to go, Scheffenon, known for its rejuvenative waters, its quiet and attentive, yet non-inquisitive staff, and its beautiful fountains.
Free for all Patrons!

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