Archive | August 30, 2018

Not – a story for Patreon

Originally posted on Patreon in August 2018 and part of the Great Patreon Crossposting to WordPress.
I really wanted to write Tír na Cali, okay?⛈️

The slaves in Tír na Cali were not part of the royal bloodline.

Except sometimes they were.

They did not have the psychic powers – “witchcraft” – that the royals did.

Except sometimes they did.

Those with strong powers were not sold outside the family, if they did happen to exist (which they didn’t).

Except sometimes the song of money was stronger than the law of tradition.  Except when something was going on that the family didn’t quite want to admit to.  Except when –

-well, except when Connor.

Connor touched the collar around his neck one more time.  It was not the nice gold-traced silver collar he had been wearing for years.  It was not the smaller, plainer collar he’d worn when he’d started to “get in trouble,” as the Master of Slaves had called it.

It was the cheap plastic of the slave markets, and it meant that it was – and therefore he was – temporary.  He was in a nice cell but it was a cell; he was being sold for a decent sum of money but he was being sold; the people that talked to him were nice, but they wanted to buy him.

Connor did not want to be bought.  Connor was part of the Lady Conroi ni Reline O Istvia household.  He was not some common slave to be sold, to be purchased, to be moved around.  He was –

He reached his fingers up towards the electronic lock and he thought.

He’d been “getting in trouble” for almost a year now.  By now, the movements were easy.

Outside, a massive storm began to rage, blowing up out of nowhere.  The thunder seemed to shake the buildings.

Inside, all of the cages and all of the slaves’ collars opened.  All of the lights went out.  The thunder sounded right overhead.

Connor plucked the collar off of neck and dropped it to the ground.  If he was not going to be part of Lady Conroi’s household, then he was not going to be a slave.

“Come with me,” he told the others, who obeyed because they were deeply in the habit of obeying.  “We’re going to… we’re going to not be sold.”

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Nineteen: “Disputes” in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Lies and Murder in the Bear Empire
Next:  Surprises in the Bear Empire

🐻

They didn’t sleep well, but they drowsed for several hours, until the sun began to sneak over the horizon and Deline, at least, was tired of pretending she could rest.

The storm, which had come back twice during their restless sleep, seemed to have passed by the time they made it downstairs and into the small town.  Deline wasted a few minutes wishing over the carriage system, but even if it was safe for them to risk, the carriages wouldn’t travel if there was risk to the horses.

Their provisioning was quick, since there were only two stores in town.  It was at the second one, while Carrone was making faces at Deline’s purchases, that the shopkeeper aimed a sharp look up and down both of them. Continue reading

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What Happened?

Written to LilFluff’s prompt to my new “WTF?” Prompt Call.  

Probably a new universe.  The last two times Fluff prompted me, we ended up with Kael’s Tower/a New World and The Hidden Mall, so…

When Emma found the door in the closet of her great-grandfather’s old house, she knew what she had to do.  

It was simply the way these things were all done in the books.

She ought to check it out first.  After all, someone always did.

But since she was staying for the weekend with her cousin, she went to get Britney first.

Britney, who was very interested in the current Seventeen magazine, did not want to come see some stinky old closet on the top floor where they really weren’t supposed to be anyway.   “Aren’t we a little old for make-believe, Em?”

“No.”  Emma’s chin jutted out.  It would be so much easier to do this without her.  And yet… “We’ll be old for make believe when we’re old. Grey hair and creaky joints and all that.  Come on. A secret door!”

“Allll right.”  With a great show of reluctance, Britney came along.

The door, at first, did not want to open, and Emma had to once again coax Britney to stay and help her get the doorknob – a little thing, shaped like a fist – to turn.

When they finally opened it, neither of them were nearly as surprised as they ought to have been to find themselves in the middle of a forest.

Britney, who had read the same books that Emma had, took a coat from the closet, sniffed it, and slid it over her shoulders.  The camel-brown leather coat made her look older and more intense than she was.

Emma thumbed through the jackets before pulling the plastic off of a trenchcoat, a grey one that looked styled just right.  It was a wee bit long on her, but that was fine. They were just stepping into a forest…

They left the door propped with a rock that happened to be very brick-shaped, neither of them looking too closely at the way it seemed to hang in mid-air on this side.  And they started walking, both of them secretly wondering if they would encounter a faun or a talking rabbit, a sentient scarecrow or a family with buttons over their eyes…

What they encountered was a glass wall, a thick one, and, outside of it, a city of gleaming steel and shining lights.  There were pod-like things zooming around in mid-air, and the sky, far above, seemed to be covered with yet another layer of glass.

They looked behind them.  There was the forest, and, somewhere in it, a portal.

They looked in front of them.  “This…” Emma whispered. “This was not what I was expecting.”


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