“We’re all different, and some of us got the short end of the stick. Clearly, you’re one of them.” Abseil did not turn around. She didn’t dare. If she did, if she saw there were guns pointed at her, she’d run and never stop running. She lifted her chin instead. “But even you know shooting people from behind is pretty damn stupid. It makes you look bad. I mean. You’re here to shop, right? Starting a massacre in the middle of the mall is a good way to get kicked out.”
Now she tried to make her voice sound trivial, like none of this mattered. She remembered trying this with Vic one other time, and it hadn’t gone great, but on the other hand, it hadn’t gone too horribly either. Continue reading →
If this was supposed to be making him feel better, Leander mused dryly, it was doing a lousy job. He was feeling differently, sure, but mostly he was feeling confused. His owner — there were other words for it, but Leander didn’t use Master even in his own head if he could avoid it and Keeper was the sort of word people used who though Fae was its own society instead of just leeched on to humanity. — His owner was making fun of himself, inviting Leander to do the same, and telling him it’s okay to have negative opinions about himself.
Leander twitched and tried not to think about hos this could go sideways, but his lips did something, he was sure, something like yeah, right.Continue reading →
Deline took the drink that the bath attendant – Tandio, her pick for the position and quite good at both ends of the position – offered her and sipped it slowly. It had not been a quick report. Her Emperor was now robed and sitting comfortably on a divan while the other bath attendant brushed his hair and braided his beard. Carrone had spent much of the early part of the report eyeing her with some surprise and, occasionally, some worry.
“You have indeed had an interesting trip.” Mesaruxenne nodded solemnly at her, although his lips were turned up with a bit of a smile. “I am – I am very glad you survived it, Dedenarrion. If I had known –“Continue reading →
When Aran tapped her on the shoulder, Nikol hadn’t realized that she’d been asleep. Asleep sitting in the middle of the road in a trapped town. She muttered a couple curses at her stupidity.
“Eat,” he insisted. “I’ve been standing guard. You — I figure that’s the second time you saved my life. Oh. And — I found this one. She says you’re an idiot.” He was holding up a cat.
The cat. A pressure Nikol had barely noticed lifted. She took the grumbling cat from Arran and, very carefully, set about petting the beast. Behind the ears, top of the head, shoulders, spine but not too far back, back to the shoulders.
“I gave her a magical flea-and-tick treatment as a thank you and fixed her worms and the sore place in her left hip. I figured that was the best I could do. The ones travelling with us — they’ll tolerate her, but they’re not going to share a saddle with her.”
“This is her home, anyway.” She petted the cat behind the ears again. “Thank you for paying my debt to her.”Continue reading →
I’m generally the sort of person that likes to have plans, well, planned out well in advance.
But sometimes a friend drops a link in your chat box and says “do you guys want to go to Binghamton tomorrow?”
And… well. It looked good — the link, the hanging out with close friends, the relatively short drive (1-½ hour or so). And we didn’t have anything urgent to do that Saturday, and…
So we drove to Binghamton.
Binghamton is… well, let’s start. NYState is in the Rust Belt, which I’m sure you know if you live around here. It has a lot of remnants of former glory — for instance, I grew up in (near) Rochester, which is the birthplace of Kodak, Xerox, and Bauch and Lomb (film cameras, photocopiers, and eye care/vision enhancement). You can see not only, say, the Eastman House (George Eastman founded Kodak) but the old Kodak building, the Xerox tower, the great mausoleums for all these people, then Gleason (works) and Strong… hold on I need to google… oh ha. Henry Alvah Strong, first president of Kodak. Via Helen Strong Carter, his daughter, First Lady of Hawaii in the early 1900s, go Rochester.
…Strong Museum of Play, it turns out, is a totally different Strong family. Continue reading →
“What if we put a bullet right in the back of your head? You’re running, what’s going to stop us? Blam, and you’re dead, all your stupid followers are dead.”
“We? Us?” She picked up her pace to a casual speed walk. “What’s this we?” she called over her shoulder. “Last I checked, Abby, you don’t have a gun. So you mean what if I tell these nice SWAT people to shoot you in the back? Don’t you?”
Talking to Evil Abby was surprisingly — or perhaps not at all surprisingly — like talking to herself in the mirror. The voice might’ve not been in her head, but it was still nasty and negative.
“Well.” Mr. MacDiarmad considered Leander. Leander, in turn, fought with panic. He was not getting sent back to that place. He wasn’t! He’d… fuck, he’d grovel if he had to.
“I see my daughter was right.”
It took Leander a moment to process the words — and the rueful tone. “I’m not broken. Sir.”
“No. No, I don’t think you are. But I do think that I might be screwing up… first things first. Leander, do not injure my daughter during sexual situations — with the one caveat to all of your orders that you may slap her and-or bruise her in removing her if she tries to push anything on you that you don’t want. All right?”
The way Carrone was holding his jaw, Deline wasn’t sure if he was afraid he might say something wrong or that he might vomit. She held his hand anyway and led him into the Emperor’s bathing chamber.
Unlike Pethiarrie, the two Claws standing guard didn’t give Deline any trouble. She nodded very politely to them – Seliarre, an Eagle Talon, and Teran, a Fox-Claw – and led Carrone over the tub.
You’d want me in your bed with the Emperor there., he’d asked, way back in the cabin, before things had gotten even more complicated.
What are you doing to do? Glare him to death? she’d countered. The way Carrone was looking now, she thought it might be a concern.
The Emperor was up to his neck in water, one bath attendants in the tub, kneeling in front of him, while the other was massaging his scalp and his long white hair with a scented soap. He opened his eyes as they entered. Continue reading →