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Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 8 (A Story for B)

Began here.
Chapter 2 here
Chapter 3 here.
Chapter 4 here.
Chapter 5 here.

It had been a long day for Malina Serafina Anastazja Dominika Naveed Jeleń nic Cecília O Alexandre, a long day now exacerbated by a very long hallway. The sand-cat walked at her side; a little fish sprite hopped in front of her in mid-air. 

She opened one more door to find one more, albeit short, hallway; Malina very nearly screamed.  Her feet WERE screaming.

“In the times when this was a fully-occupied castle,” the cat informed her, “These passages would have had guards at all times. The Queen needed her private time.”

“It must have taken her all day just to get there,” Malina muttered.  Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Fourteen

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

There was one of the white-robed security people watching the exit into the parking lot, but he looked distracted and it wasn’t even hard to sneak around him.

Once they were in the lot, it was easy enough to put a couple SUVs in the line of sight between them and the security-cultist, and then it was a straight walk out of the park.

It was later than Lina had realized; most of the houses outside the park had their lights off. They were small houses, well-up-kept — sort of like cottages, but with the feeling that they were lived in year-round.

“The prophecy,” Lina asked Jackson. “It’s just the top of the hill, right? Because if it was all of this, our parents would have bought this all up and built houses here.”

“They keep trying to buy the park,” Dylan offered. “My dad, Ethan’s mom, I think your dad. But the city won’t sell it.”

“The impression given has been a little fuzzy,” Jackson added in. his lips were d he looked like he was reading off an invisible book somewhere in front of him. Lina took his arm so he didn’t wander off the side of the road. “Most of the prophecies seem to suggest a small area — the park, that sort of thing — but a few could mean the whole hill. It’s not a great school district here—”

“Like any of us go to public school,” Ethan scoffed. The further they got away from the campground, the less worried he seemed to be. Lina wondered if they should just run away.

Of course, if the top of the hill was really the only place safe from the end of the world, running away wouldn’t be a good idea. Continue reading

Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 7 (A Story for B)

Began here.
Chapter 2 here
Chapter 3 here.
Chapter 4 here.
Chapter 5 here.

Malina’s feet were tired; her eyes were tired. Her head was tired. Yet she was exploring again.

The inner wall and the outer wall of the castle still appeared intact, at least in this corner. Sand drifted heavily enough in several places that Malina couldn’t see more than 1 or 2 dozen cubits in either direction from the L intersection where she stood, the corner of the castle from which the tower grew.

She was being led by a fishlike sprite that had appeared to her request – no, to her demand.

She had seen stranger things, but then again, she was being followed around an abandoned castle named for her ancestor by a talking cat.

The sprite was taking her away from the entrance she’d come in, down the branch of inner-outer wall space she hadn’t explored yet. This could be a very bad idea – but yet, the cat was following her. It seemed entirely unworried about any of this. Of course, being a cat (although she did not know the rules for sand-cats, she supposed), it would likely seem unworried by anything at all. Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 12

Content warning for the below chapter: human remains, not graphically described.

📚

Next had turned out, after a discussion with One and Two (“Ugh, save Genealogy for last, or at least, do the basement all in one go”, and “If you go this way, you can avoid the Barbies.  And Alice. Oh, and Gertrude.”), to actually be Supernatural and Occult. 

“It’s, ah.  It’s not as bad as it sounds?” Two had offered.  She’d been pulling out scones and a small tin of clarified butter for Veronika at the time and gotten her hand slapped at the second scone.  “Come on, she’s pretty okay. And wait ‘till I tell you what Mariyam did.”

One’s eyes had narrowed, and in the end, Veronika had been given three scones, the butter, and a knife — “it’s a reproduction, of course, but bring it back if you can.”

She’d also been given the strangest directions yet — and that might be saying something — to a department which was, in theory, just on the other side of the building on the same floor as Reprography.

With an assurance that she would indeed return the knife, she trundled her little cart out of Reprography and into the rows and rows of shelving and boxes.  Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Thirteen

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Lina steered them away from the exiting crowd, off to the left where there weren’t many campsites, being instead things like the utility shack and the groundskeeper’s hut and other such unsightly things that kept the place going.  “So,” she murmured a little while later, “who-?”

“My aunts.  My dad’s sisters.”  Ethan made a face. “They’re uh, the Handmaidens of the Organization and they’re the reason my dad and mom got into it.  They’re pretty —”

“Creepy,” Dylan put in.  “And the stuff with your parents,” he gestured at Lina, “that’s the sort of stuff the higher-ups in the Organization – my dad, his aunts, you know – they don’t want people to talk about.  Or even really think about.”

“What did my parents do?  I mean, okay, folding space.  But that’s not-“

“Your parents were trying to start a splinter group,” Ethan cut in.  “Not quite the same thing, and I’m sort of surprised they’re here, because they had a different interpretation of the prophecy.  And what the Organization was supposed to do. And who should be in charge-“

“What, Dad?” Lina asked bitterly.  Continue reading

Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 6 (A Story for B)

Began here.
Chapter 2 here
Chapter 3 here.
Chapter 4 here.
Chapter 5 here.

There was a girl named Malina Serafina Anastazja Dominika Naveed Jeleń nic Cecília O Alexandre, and because she had been named this, or at least that was what she’d been told, she sat down on a throne.

The throne was in a tower which had been left as if its inhabitants planned on coming back any moment.

But they hadn’t, and Malina, led by a talking sand-cat & carried by a mustang, had.

She sat down gingerly on the throne, worried it might crumble to dust, even though it had held the cat fine.

The throne held her weight; the cushion was so soft and comfortable that she could see why the cat had wanted to stay there. It was too large for her, as if it had been meant to hold a very large person, but if she scooted forward, she could see how the arm rests had been carved to fit hands, so they’d rest comfortably and royally while the person there did whatever they did in this room. Continue reading

The Pibald Player

This is left over from Pi Day.  I had trouble wrapping it up, and in the end, I didn’t… quite get it wrapped up the way I wanted, but here it is. 

It’s in the greater world of Fae Apoc but has none of the standard warnings except – it IS set in a post-apoc and some of the people are kind of shitty people.

🥧

She called “pip-piperelle!” as she walked into the town, singing a wordless tune & strumming a pipa.  She was let in somehow, despite the fact that the town was shut down, not letting anyone in for fear they’d bring disease or pillaging, of which the town had had none but their neighboring towns’d suffered more than a little over the  last months.

(in the small parts of their hearts, in the privacy of their psyche, some of them knew that they had pillaged, and that meant they feared other pillagers even more.)

The world was falling apart; everyone knew that.  People were being assholes everywhere, being small and petty and, well, pillaging.  They were also dying of things that had not been a blip on the radar 2 years ago – plague and famine and fear and malnutrition.

And into this town, this barricaded town with no way in or out, this woman strode.

Her skin was piebald, marked here and there with shapes like clouds, paler than her brown skin, in places pure white.  Her outfit was likewise piebald, a tie-dye tunic flowing down to her thighs and batik-patterned leggings covering her legs.  Her hair was pulled back from her face in two puffball-like pigtails to better show off the markings that speckled her, and the tunic was low-cut and sleeveless.

“I can fix your crops,” she told them.  “I can make them happier; I can make them better.  I can sing to them and they’ll grow.” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 11

Veronika made herself stop reading.  She glanced apologetically at Two. “It’s, ah—“

“I’m getting paid,” Two shrugged cheerfully. “The problem is, you want to finish this test before you’re old and grey.  Look, 1860, you can come back to it. Or you could take it out, too?”

Veronika wavered. “I could…” She had her own magnifier, of course.  Not because she’d ever walked off with microfilm or microfiche…. just for reading very small things which weren’t reduced to 1% of their original size….

“I’d better not,” she concluded.  “I should try to be here a week before I start signing things out.”

“Oh, no, go home every night, even if it’s just your apartment on site!  Don’t ever try to stay here a solid week — even we don’t do that, and we’ve got multiples!” Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Twelve

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Lina wiggled her fingers.  “Can you feel that?”

“Feel what?”  Ethan stared at her fingers as if they were made of magic.  Well, they kind of were. 

“I can feel — little tingles of power. In — in eight of my fingers.”

“That’s going to be interesting when you add more people.”  Jackson hrrmed. 

“When?”  Lina wrinkled her nose at him. “Are you planning on me saving more lives?”

They were walking — casually, slowly, like they weren’t in any hurry at all — through the sort of befuddled crowd, currently past what remained of the catering tables. Jackson was handing Lina mini-quiches while Dylan and Ethan grabbed sushi rolls for themselves.   Continue reading

Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 5 (A Story for B)

Began here.

Chapter 2 here

The Princess of many names (who we will refer to as Malina for simplicity’s sake) looked between a sand map of the city and the sand-cat sitting on the throne. Staring back at her from the map was a figure that seemed to represent her, and staring at her from the throne was a cat. 

The cat stretched and turned around twice on the throne.  “You are correct. Not just the map, which is usually right about these things, but the land here,  the tower here, this whole place. All of it believes you are important.”

“Because I’m named after a grandmother?”

“Well, several of your names certainly help in the process.”  The cat reached up towards the top of the throne, claws piercing the upholstery.  “There is a power in names, you know. There is a strength in them, and that power gives you, say, a tool.  But the person using the tool is just as important.”

“I’m just, well,  I’m here because I got lost at a party, because I got tired of the crowds,” Malina protested. Continue reading