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Smokey Knoll is an exciting place to live, but for Aud and Sage and their kids, it’s just… life. Harpies, centaurs, and tiny people in the walls; kidnappers, magic-users, and strange poisons in black jars… Aud just wants to get through the latest parent-teacher meeting, and nevermind the mayor’s latest problem.

The ogres next door have moved out, but the new neighbors have a joyriding teen and a new infant whose cries can wake up the neighborhood. Sure, the wee little thing is adorable, but he belches fire when he’s colicky and needs asbestos diapers.

This series of short pieces follows the mostly-human family in their interactions with their magical neighbors.


Best Places to Start
Get Off My Lawn!
Backpack Gremlins


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What The Rent?

Written to Eseme’s prompt to my new “WTF?” Prompt Call.  Dragons Next Door ‘Verse, definition(s) at bottom. 

You heard things about this city, moving in.

People from nearby cities would whisper about the dragons and the ogres and other, darker creatures.

They’d talk about the pixies dive-bombing cars, or something their mother’s cousin’s wife told them about living near harpies.

All cities had some magical-creature presence.  But in most places, it was completely distinct from the human presence.

Sure, this city had Smokey Knoll, but there was no wall.  There was no dividing line, even, keeping the races separate.  There was just a hill you went up and then there were dragons.

Violet  hadn’t been worried. She’d never had a problem with magical beings – her best friend in high school had been half-dweomer, after all. She’d done her thesis on the integration of the magical with the mundane.  And the job paid really well. Continue reading

A Different Stripe

Written to Anke’s prompt. 

🦓

When you spend your time trying to learn as much as possible about the other people around you and working on finding the best in all of them – sometimes by viewing them by your cultural standards, sometimes by theirs, sometimes by some neutral third party – and then you find them using a kind of casual racism against creatures you think of as being the same as them, you tend to find yourself a little shocked or, if you are like me, a little stupefied.

I was, I’m afraid to say, used to the casual racism of humans towards the magical races, especially the categories we called The Small (or Tiny) Races and The Beast Races – Tinies, Pixies, Gremlins and the lot in the first category; centaurs, harpies, fauns and such in the second.  But I spent a lot of my time talking to Zizney, and thez, it seemed, treated all smaller races as, well, smaller but not particularly lesser, just curious. And the worst I had ever heard any of the Smiths say about another dragon was a sort of personal insult, along the lines of “messy and untidy scales.”

Now, I full well know the danger of extrapolating such experiences out.  Not only is one dragon different from another, a dragon is inherently different from a harpy, and so on.  “We are all people” is a good way to treat people but not a good way to try to understand behavior patterns.

But knowing the dangers of something is different from remembering and internalizing those dangers. So when I encountered Leeland, the dapple Bay centaur from down the street, passing by the new neighbors’ stable, I was stunned to hear him mutter “ugh, Zebra-centaurs.”

I was actually stunned enough that I stopped and stared at him.  He was several steps along before he stopped to look back at me.  “What?”  He flicked his tail at me.

“’Ugh?’” I quoted back at him.  The family moving into the stable was, indeed, zebra- looking, the stripes going up into the clothing they wore over their humanoid torsos. “Really?”  I didn’t even have the words for I thought you were one of the good guys, come on.

Now that I think about it, those would have  been the words.

“They’re not centaurs.  Everyone thinks they are, and, I mean, in English the word is just zebra-centaur, but they’re no more centaurs than zebras are horses.  They’re pushy.”  He wrinkled his nose and pushed out air in a very horsey gesture.  “And that’s the problem.  They’re going to come in.  They’re going to be loud and pushy and in everyone’s faces, and everyone’s going to say ugh, centaurs, and it’s not us, it’s them.”

I didn’t really want to interfere in intra-species – or inter-species – troubles, but I couldn’t help myself.  It’s what I do, after all.  “So you know these zebra-centaurs already?”

“I know about zebra-centaurs.  We’ve been through this before. They’re loud.  And messy.”

I lifted up an eyebrow.  “And all centaurs are brilliant scholars and great aims with an arrow,” I added, as if I was agreeing with him – with Leeland, who was a blacksmith.

“That’s not true!  That’s…”  He huffed at me.  “That’s not the same.”

“Well then.  Perhaps I’ll have your family and the new family over for dinner, and you can all explain it to me.  In detail.”

“…With tea?”  He looked at me out of the side of his eye.  I smiled at him.

“Yes, of course, with tea.”

“… I can handle loud and messy for that long.  Fine.”

I hadn’t solved anything.  All I’d done was planted a seed, and it might never take root.

But when you spend your time trying to learn as much as possible about the other people around you, sometimes you have to spread that back out a little, like collecting manure, and hope it doesn’t stink up the place too much in the process.

🦓

I had been watching: https://youtu.be/DEaWFX5nzg0?t=174 over my husband’s shoulder. (Ignore the part on cats; they’re wrong). 

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For TNG, Cap, and Tal, with all my love. 

🌑

The whole world whispering
Born at the right time…

Read On


We danced in graveyards with vampires till dawn
We laughed in the faces of kings, Never afraid to burn
 ⚰️
Everything not mandatory is forbidden
 📜
The sun set quickly, as if it wanted to get out of the way.

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This story comes after  Hostage Situation, Ketchup, Salt, and Released.  Jin, Aud & Sage’s teenaged child, has dealt with a hostage situation in unique fashion. 🥞
🥒
Police Captain Iverny was not having a good day.
That was not true: Some parts of his day were very good.  The part where the monster in the bank had only managed to kill one person – that was wonderful.

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Dragons next Patreon


“Fore!… Damnit! I don’t know what’s up with me today, Jim, I just can’t swing a damn stick!”

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Originally posted Aug. 10, 2011

🛒

I think it’s fair that I thought Farnah was male.

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This week on What an Old House, we’re doing some exploratory demolition in our 1860’s farmhouse’s bathroom.

🏠

Now this bathroom has some interesting features right from the get-go. You can see from the photos that the entire bathroom was covered in these 50’s-era Masonite panels.

Take a Peek!

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Time to Move – a story of Dragons Next Door for Patreon

This is set early in the life of Aud and Sage. 👪

So there we were, living in a tiny studio apartment between the artsy district and the tracks, holding our first child, Jin, just an hour after birth.  The midwife had come and gone and we were staring and the faint glow coming off of our first child with a bit of consternation.

“You,” I said, feeling far too calm (it had to be the tea I’d brewed for childbirth), “are not a wizard.”

Sage raised those eyebrows at me.  “You are not a witch.”

We’d both known it for a long time, of course, or at least suspected strongly.  You don’t go into a relationship with someone while they are still in school at a prestigious institution for wizards or witches and not notice a thing or, and if that hadn’t done it,the forms we’d each chosen for the wedding vows might have, or the family members that did and didn’t attend the wedding. Continue reading

Patreon! A Repost and two summer ficlets

Originally posted Oct. 28, 2011
🎃
Officially, the Sandborn Institute and Lady Cassidy’s Academy for Young Ladies did not have mixers. There was nothing the Black Tower wanted to hear from the Pumpkin, and nothing the Pumpkin wanted to say to the Tower.
Read on!!


This is just a little story of summertime and beaches, because I wanted to.
😎

At first, we all thought it was some asshole in a particularly good Godzilla costume.

Read on!!


This is written to @medic‘s very enthusiastic “More, more!” to No Rest on This Beach
😎

So there we were, eight-foot Godzilla-like thing on the beach smashing sandcastles and throwing around policemen, and I, at least, had been planning for a nice quiet weekend blending in with the locals and watching the myth of the supernatural from a nice safe place.

Read On!

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Patreon: Some Tinies, some Gods, Some history.

The Tinies are creatures of the Dragons Next Door setting and are loosely based on my memories of the Borrowers books.
This was meant to be a short microfic – oops.

👾

The Tinies had lived alongside humans as long as the humans had been living in houses, and, although they were a scattered and fragmented society, they had traditions and unwritten rules that they carried from home to home and community to community, mostly carried by the old, those past their adventuring days.

Free for all Patreon patrons!


I’m a bit behind on the next chapter of the Expectant Wood, so have a piece of history I wrote a while ago in the meantime.
🌋

The land was rising.

The people on the islands and the small nation of Aerax clung to whatever support they could find. The last magical explosions of the Roquelan Wars had been over for days. Nobody had expected another attack.

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I don’t even remember what I wrote this for, but it suits the theme of May.
🍇

They liked their god, and so they’d kept him. Around them, the world had crumbled to pieces, the new gods, creatures like him, warring against the self-appointed protectors of humanity. In their little fort on the hill, though, they’d been drunk, happy and content to stay that way. And every season, they’d paid homage to their new god, for all he gave them.

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