Archive | June 2018

The Trouble With Guides…

After The Trouble With Chickens… and The Trouble With Theories… and The Trouble With Assignments….

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Trenner thought she might be losing it.

“I have made base camp,” she wrote, “in the lobby of the Pendington building.  From the signs here, I am not the first to make camp here.  I can see the remains of a fire pit in what had once been the grand Fountain to Athena, and over there in the former wishing well, people, ah, wished in another way.  

My native guide tells me that he avoided the Exploration Club quite handily, and, seeing the way he blends into the terrain, I am not surprised.  He is, after all, not a plant nor a building, nor is he a giant chicken (or a mutant killer ferret nor a feral housecat, although he bears the most resemblance to the last), and thus, even if he did not smell slightly like Wrong and did not look slightly like a pile of detritus, he was not on their agenda.

“What are you writing?”  He sat across the fire from her, roasting something on a pan he must have taken from one of the dining halls – Goldblum, that was the one in the Lost Buildings.  

“It’s my exploration log.  I’m tracking everything I do.”

“Oh, I remember that. They taught us how to do that in first-year Exploration.  Are you still thinking of going back, then? You haven’t tried the eggs yet.”

The egg in question was huge, and he had darted in and out of a nest with surprising dexterity, returning with something it took him both arms to hold.  “I certainly want to try the eggs,” she reassured him. “And I’ll be here for at least a few days. If I come back too quickly, Professor Lokeg-Fridelabout is going to accuse me of cheating.  And it’ll be points on the chart, sure, but it will be more points if I actually manage to prove the professor wrong and he has to eat his words and the egg.”

“Oh, are you still doing that?  I was almost winning, the year I left, but I kept getting points through being sent on deadly assignments, and I decided I wanted to live. There’s a few of us here,” he added.  “Five that I know of, all up in the top of Drummond Hall. It’s safest there. The chickens don’t like to roost on that roof, because it’s too steep, and we blew out the first-floor stairways, which keeps out the ferrets pretty well.”  He noted the way she was looking around. “This time of year, this will be safe, too,” he assured her. “It’s just when they get broody that there’s a problem.”

Trenner considered broody as it related to a beast the size of a wagon.  “How – how are they still here? How hasn’t someone eradicated them?  Did the university really just let them take over a portion of the school?  What about funding?”

She started writing down all those questions almost before she was done asking them, not really expecting answers from him.

“Well, they’re very hard to kill, surprisingly.  The eggs are easy, but you have to survive getting the eggs.  And they have no natural predators, which means there’s quite a few of them.  That’s problem one. Problem two is, the university has always been known for taking the path of least resistance.  In this case, the chickens resisted more than the trustees, so they put up a fence. I’d heard rumors – are you really writing all of this down?”

“Of course I am.  I want to come up with a solution, which means understanding the problem.”

“You really are one of them, aren’t you?”

It was said with such admiration that Trenner could hardly take offence.  “I’m sorry? What’s a ‘one of them?’”

“Oh, ah. My favorite professor, Professor Sojide, used to say there were Golden Students. Um. ‘If they can survive their time here, they will change the world, one way or another.’  I wasn’t one. Ah. Matilde was, but she didn’t survive the ferrets.” He looked down at his feet. “I just want to live. That’s pretty much it. My family all believe me dead, probably.”

“Hunh.”  She had never heard Professor Sojide say that.  She made a note of it in her book. “Can you take me close enough to see them, without risking yourself?”

“Tomorrow.  At noon. I can take you to the right path.  That’s it.” He shook his head. “I won’t go further than that.  But if you want eggs…  eggs I can get you.”  He spooned out a large portion of his concoction onto her plate, more onto his, and then put the pan on a stone in the shadows.

She was not surprised to see movement there, movement that could have been human.  She did not look too closely. They weren’t a danger to her, she didn’t think; she didn’t want them to think she was a danger to them.

The egg was better than anything she’d ever eaten.  She said so, three times. In the end, her native guide – who still would not give her a name – colored and looked away.  “There’s some tricks to cooking them. But the biggest tricks are in just finding them.”

“I look forward to seeing that, then.”  She had never been more sincere. “And the eggs.  Are they fertile, do you think?”

She had just had a glimmer of an idea, and it looked like her being able to walk out of here alive.

 

World Building June Day 13 – A Diagram?

In the post I did yesterday, I mentioned a Jackal house, a “very small building on the outskirts of town that has only the bare necessities to survive,” in the Bear Empire, reserved for those who are taking advantage of the charity/kindness of others.

If you’ve been following on my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/aldersprig/posts?tag=boom), you may have noticed that I’ve been drawing little maps and floor plans in Excel and Paint.

So when I was like “tiny building, bare necessities….”

Of course I had to draw it.

And I might have mentioned that I’ve been taking all-day Administrative Excellence classes on Wednesdays.

This leads to a lot of doodling and drawing.

So uh.  There’s a reason I draw these things in Excel usually, and below you’ll see both versions.

A “Jackal House” in the Bear Empire, as it might look.  Fire is a required necessity for survival.  Windows are not.

As the sketch shows, a stack of firewood outside the house on the windward side provides more firewood and also insulation.  The high-pitched roofline provides protection. 

 

 

World Building June Day 13 – Money and Mooches

It’so June WorldBuilding So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

(mostly Bear Empire now, though I’ll make sure I at least post everything I wrote on the Ezra IV Colonies)

13- What type of economic structures do they follow?

As a whole, the Bear Empire works on a mostly-capitalist structure; that is, people sell goods and services for currency to buy other goods and services.

The exceptions to this are as follows:

* There are still large portions of the Empire (mind you, not lovely portions or anything, but portions) where land is free.  As long as you have four adults or more willing to agree to live there for at least five years, the local governor will build you a house and a barn and give you up to 200 acres (although in many cases measuring those acres is complicated.  Ever measure horizontal land up the side of a mountain?).

* Taxes to the Shire, the [governor-area] and the Empire cover first and primarily infrastructure, but a portion is put aside every year for the following:

– relief for areas stricken by famine or disaster (inside the borders or, to a lesser degree, outside of them)

– Aid for the poor

– basic reading, writing, and religious education for all children from weaning to prepubescence.

This last one is new and still controversial, since it did require a raise in taxes across the board.  

* Within any town or shire, if someone has come upon hard times, there is a “10% rule.”  That is, rather than tithes to the church, people put aside 10% of their goods and harvests as they can, and will give, generally, 1/3 of that to any they encounter who have come on hard times

(on the other hand, if someone is known to abuse that charity, there is a thing called the Jackal House, a very small building on the outskirts of town that has only the bare necessities to survive. If you find yourself escorted the Jackal House, you can know that you have tried the patience of a town and stretched their 10% further than they are willing to accept.

The primary manner one gets out of the Jackal House, save from moving to another town, is by performing some act of service for every member of the town. )


 

Questions? Thoughts?  Tell me!

An Inn in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Prey in the Bear Empire

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The town was a little closer than Deline had estimated – in part because they struck a rather quick pace, not trusting the clouds hovering over the mountains, and in part because they took advantage of two wagon-rides offered to them.

The first one didn’t take a large amount of distance off of their trip, but it was almost all uphill, and they were both glad to let the big draft horses to the climbing.  The farmer, a quiet woman with a distant look in her eye, didn’t ask many questions and didn’t provide much information – but as she was pulling the wagon to a stop, she told them, “if you’re going Ghomau way, Ewdin there might be running the wagon into town.”  She peered up at the sun. “You make a good pace here to there, you might catch him. He’ll talk your ear off, but he likes the company.”

They made it to Ewdin in time to help him load straw into his wagon and ride up with him.  Deline had been a little worried about what they would tell him, what they could tell him, but it turned out to have  been a vain worry. Continue reading

World Building June Day 11-12 – Language, Creatures, Government

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  

Still going on the catch-up!

11. What’s language like in your world?

The language of the Empire of the Bear is technically three related languages that have many similarities but are not always mutually comprehensible.  (And three others which are used in very small sections, one of which nobody can understand)

The language family as a whole of the five larger languages is a liquid tongue with a lot of vowels and active tongue use, a popping plosive, and tonal mood shifts and sometimes meaning shifts.  The Lynx language tends to drop initial and final consonant sounds and sometimes repeat vowels; the Fox language involves repetition and a lot more popping sounds, as well as some trills. The Cat people have a lot more trills in their language as well as a whistle-sound.  And the Elk people, only one word in twenty is recognizable between their dialect and the others. Theirs tends towards complicated vowel combinations and often seems to require hand gestures. Continue reading

The Haunted House 17: The Yard

First: A story featuring a male keeper and a female Kept.
Previous: Assignments and Plans

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Jasper was still watching her.  It took Mélanie a moment to remember what the last thing she’d said had been.  Oh. Fun.

It wasn’t going to be too fun if the house ate her, was it?

She would have to worry about that later.  Hopefully, the house wasn’t telepathic.

Hopefully, her boss wasn’t telepathic.

“I’d like it if you had fun,” he admitted.  “That’s a better result than I hope for, but this life, I enjoy it.”

She wanted to see the yard, to do anything to move away from this sort of uncomfortable conversation.  Mélanie finished her food in three bites. “Can I clear your plate?”

“You can.  Eager to see the chickens and the horses?” Continue reading

World Building June Day 10 & 11 – Holidays and Governments

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  

Still going on the catch-up!

10. What holidays & traditions are observed in your world?

Major holidays in the Bear Empire include:

* A major feast near the end of autumn

* a day called the “day of sleep” after the first major frost.  

* A spring-thaw celebration

(these three above together are referred to as the Hibernation festivals) Continue reading