Written to Thnidu’s commissioned continuation of Down to Talen Hall.
Do not go by the TalenHall
Where ruined Talen’s Holdings Lie
My sisters dance by Talen Hall
Where ruined Talen’s Holdings lie.
My aunts and cousins, once in thrall,
Sing taunting songs to pale moonlight.
They were not my sisters, and yet they were.
My sister stood off to the side, an iron firepoker in her hand. She’d grown while I was gone, and grown again in the time I’d been back. She was a woman.
I’d been a woman, once. To the touch of the fae lords and the beings under the hill, I had grown seven years and seven more, seven children and seven grooms.
Seven brides for Seven Brothers, Alicia liked to joke, but only if everyone was on a merry-go-round, playing musical brides.
Alicia’d had a habit of getting her metaphors mixed. Now, she didn’t say anything at all, just stood at Talen’s Hall and stared.
Seven years and seven again I’d been there – and Alicia, who had gone down at the same time as I had – but my body was exactly as it had been when I’d left. No sign of the babies. No sign of two years, or five, or fourteen. No sign I’d been gone at all.
No sign of my seven brothers, not even of the one I’d loved. No sign of the rings he’d slipped on my fingers.
Kara stood to the side, grown hard and adult while I lingered in the moonlit lands. Her iron poker was a guard against those who’d taken us, and against us, all forty-nine of us, who might want to go back.
“You cannot have the ones you took
They are not yours to claim”
That’s what they say she sang. Some days I want to ask her on whose authority?
“This is our world and not your book.
Give back their pride and shame.”
And I wonder, more than anything, if she knew what she was giving me back. My Pride. My Shame: Then their eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked. All of that returned to me.
Do not go by the Talen Hill
Where Jana’s Kara holds the steel.
He was startled and then terrified to find Timaios’ hand at the back of his neck. He was going to be hauled off to a cage. He was going to be locked away like the miserable bad thing that he was. He was –
“Ctirad. Look at me.”
He didn’t try to the fight the order. He looked up, unable to control his expression and barely even thinking of trying. “Sir?” A surge of misery struck him. That was wrong, that wasn’t what he was supposed to call his master. “Timaios?”
The hand was still on the back of his neck. Timaios was crouched next to him, looking down at him. “Ctirad. My kitten. Were you telling me you wanted to submit to me? Do kneel at my feet for dinner?”
“Yes?” He fought against the misery and, once again, lost. He lowered his head, only to find Timaios’ other hand on his chin, keeping him in position.
“Ctirad. Why?” Continue reading
Story based on a dream I had
The King was raving.
Not that anyone would ever say that; he was the king. You didn’t mention he was raving — or hallucinating, or having fits — if you wanted to hold on to your head, your soul, and your volition.
But the King had gotten it in his head that one of his trusted advisers and lieutenants had betrayed him, and was going around the castle, using The Voice that filled every corner of that huge edifice, declaring that when he found that Lieutenant who’d betrayed him, he would kill them, rend them, destroy them.
And because this wasn’t just any King or any edifice, all of his lieutenants were running around shooting one of their lieutenants in turn, which was getting more than a bit exhausting and very bloody.
And me? I was staying out of the way and trying not to be seen. When you are a human in this place, in The Castle of the King, you do your damndest not to attract any attention save that attention that brought you there – and since the one that had brought me there was currently chasing his lieutenant around trying to shoot him and complaining that the man wouldn’t hold still for it, well, I didn’t want his attention either.
And that worked fine until the King called a general assembly. You didn’t not go to those, but even sitting in the back, I felt someone come up behind me. Not my paramour, such as he was; no, he was in front of me, eyes glued to the podium and the throne at the front.
No, this was another human-like person, and he had a hand on my shoulder. And then, while the King talked about traitors in his midst, a bag came down over my head.
I was going to die. I had never known anything so clearly as I knew that. I was dying, here, too far from home, with a burlap sack over my head to hide my shame.
An image flashed into my mind. No, a vision. I did not see visions, I who did not belong here. But there it was, a creature all scales and plates, green and blue as the sea it was crawling out of, our sea, the sea the Castle of the King hulked overlooking.
It was coming. And it was the reason the King was raving.
I lost consciousness, only then understanding that that was why the bag was there.
The Aramob had not been expecting resistance when they went against the Village. Town people were soft, and folded easily. That was the wisdom of the elders, that was what the young warriors preached. Especially water-towns, where their food came easy and they could waste their time in games.
This is Viddie (Viðrou, but his mother didn’t want to call him Vitthie.), the son of Cynara and Leofric from, among other things, Addergoole: a Ghost Story.
In theory, it should have been easy.
Viddie knew pumpkins. He’d grown up eating pumpkin pie from scratch, and he knew all of the ins and outs of what made a pumpkin a pumpkin.
This turned out a little strange…
Sub-bureaucrat Azenia had her hands full and her lamp was burning far past closing time.
She knew, of course, that the over-bureaucrats liked it that way.