Aging in Cloverleaf, a story of…well, of Cloverleaf… now available for Patreon patrons~

Aging in Cloverleaf

Fiana was getting old, and Edgar was not…

Years after they helped to build Cloverleaf, a plumber and his wife discuss their choice.

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Pick-up lines, a ficlet of Cya/Doomsday

When Cya went to one of the downtown bars with Leo, she knew that she could expect a certain amount of flirtation in varying degrees of heavy-handedness. Today was no different – some smooth pick-up lines and some sad, some who wanted to sleep with power and some who thought she looked cute, some who thought Leo looked cute and some who thought they were dangerous in an interesting way.

And then one drunken guy told her he could help her out. “I’m good friends with the Mayor, you know. If you need a job, I can help you.”

She looked him over for a minute while the gathered crowd around them fell silent. He was earnest and pleased with himself – and she’d never met him before.

“Would someone please tell him?” She raised her voice so it carried.

One of the off-duty city guards, sounding as if he was trying not to laugh, cleared his throat. “What would you like us to tell him, Madam Mayor?”

The man frowned, but he clearly hadn’t gotten it yet. Cya sighed. “Well, my name would be a good start.”

“Well, I hear,” Apollo offered, “that the bandits to the west call you the Red Death.”

Actually, they called her the Red-handed wielder of the Lightning Death, but since neither she nor Leo actually killed anyone, she supposed that was a moot point.

“Up north, they call you the Savior of Adamtown,” a guard offered. Cya winced. That had been a bad one – but she had, technically, saved Adamtown.

“In school,” offered a third, who had been a student of Doomsday until just a year ago, “mostly they call you Prince Red.”

That one, she hadn’t known. And now her would-be suitor was beginning to get the point. He was turning pale. “Madame Mayor?” He glared at her. “No, you’re way too young. The mayor’s been here for fifty years!”

“The mayor is fae, you idiot.” The bartender looked far from impressed. “And you’re bothering her.”

“Well, how was I supposed to know?” he whined.

“Easy,” Cya offered. “Don’t claim friendships you don’t have. Promise that, and we won’t have a problem.”

“I.. I promise,” he stammered. From the way the air didn’t twist and the way he was willing to make a promise that quickly, Cya could tell he wasn’t fae. It didn’t matter. She smiled so all her sharp mink teeth showed.

“Good boy. Now go leave the Mayor alone. I want to flirt with someone less unwise.”

AS he hurried off, she began to wonder if it was time for a new city.

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Job Interview: a tiny-fic of the Apiary

(The Apiary is – or will be – the companion university and surrounding town to Cloverleaf and Doomsday Academy)

The chair was singularly uncomfortable. Augustinus did his best not to shift and squirm.

The woman in front of him was lush, far too lush, and something about her scent just made her beauty even more uncomfortable. And she was smiling at him with a wide grin that looked a little too predatory.

She glanced down at her notes. “Now,” she purred, “why don’t you tell me about your experience with chemistry?”

Augustinus cleared his throat, not for the first time, and tried not to make an absolute fool of himself.

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Soft Target, a drabble of Cloverleaf

When the boss told him Cloverleaf was a soft target, Coty should’ve known better.

When the boss said the walls would come down easy with this new earth-caster, Cody really should’ve known better.

When the boss said that the guards at Cloverleaf were glorified paper-checkers and errand-runners and there was no military to speak of, Coty should’ve walked away, whatever the contract said.

When the boss screamed onward instead of retreat, Coty should’ve grabbed the boss and ran.

When the woman asked Coty if he wanted a ten-year jail sentence or a five-year collar…

Maybe he should’ve picked jail time.

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Building The Apiary, a ficlet of Cya/Doomsday

This time, she didn’t do it by herself.

When she’d built Cloverleaf, she hadn’t been alone, not all the time. Her daughter Mai had “helped”, but Mai had been five years old, and there was only so much help even the most enthusiastic five-year-old could be. She’d brought in specialists, she’d called in favors, and she’d had company.

This time, she started by having cy’Underground survey and archive the area, pulling out anything that might possibly be of use to future generations and documenting the rest. She called in a team of people to break down the remaining bits of buildings, and another team to sort all of the bits into usable pieces.

She levelled the ground and raised the hill herself.

“The Apiary”, Leo had said, and a beehive it would be. But this was Cloverleaf’s project, not Doomsday’s, and that meant she wasn’t working alone.

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Cloverleaf Character Study: Tijana the knitter

When Tijana Sheffield had been twenty-five, a redheaded woman had walked into her town and walked directly up to Tijana.

She’d been talking to the whole small marketplace, but her eyes never left Tijana in her little knit-goods booth. “Cloverleaf needs craftspeople. It needs farmers. It needs workers. And in return, it has running water, electricity, and tall walls. It has security, and room to grow and change.”

Most of the tiny town of Warm River didn’t want room to grow or to change. They liked their nice, secure place with few bandits and no fairies.

Tijana had left, and Amos the baker’s son. They’d been scolded, fussed at, complained at, and warned, but both of them knew it was better if they left. A town and tight and small as Warm River, strangeness wasn’t wanted or needed. It was better for everyone if they left.

Now Tijana was thirty-five, married, with three children and a thriving business. She’d married an inventor (or, as he called himself, a re-inventor) who had a knack for reading old stories and figuring out a way to duplicate what the ancients had had before the war, for taking old mechanisms and making them go again.

And she’d gone from a small business knitting for Warm River to a thriving shop. The red-haired woman, the Mayor of Cloverleaf, liked sweaters, and thus much of Cloverleaf liked sweaters. She had two apprentices working the knitting machines that her husband had rigged up, and she kept her own hands busy with increasingly complicated patterns on the hems, necklines, and cuffs. She was growing, improving. And you couldn’t walk down Main Street without seeing a couple of her sweaters and a couple more copies.

And now the Mayor wanted to buy two of her sweaters. Tijana picked up her wool and started knitting. She had a couple new ideas, and if anyone would appreciate the innovation, it was going to be the Mayor.

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Angelic Visitation

This comes after The Storm Prince of Death and @inspectrCaracal’s response here. It is set in the Fae Apoc, at least 60 years after the 2011 apocalypse.  Yoshi is the son of Cynara, often mentioned.  

Yoshi loved his parents, he really did, but sometimes he just needed to get out into the world and get away from them. The same was true of Dáirine, with whom he had a strange sort of on-again, on-again relationship that neither of them quite understood.

To get away, he’d taken to wandering the world — a family trait, it seemed. There was a lot of world out there to see; Yoshi had a feeling that he could travel for a century and not see half of it. But he made a point of checking in every year or so. There was nothing more embarrassing than having your mother appear out of nowhere because you hadn’t remembered to visit.

It was on the way back “home” — to Cloverleaf, which had never been home but was the place his family lived — that Yoshi encountered the little village. It was friendly to a passing stranger, something not all towns would do in this rough age, but their friendliness had a cautious edge to it. Continue reading

Cloverleaf: A Basic Write-up of the City

Cloverleaf is built approx 50 years after the apocalypse, or about (plus or minus 7 years) 2061.

Notably, it was built almost entirely by magic, and as such the walls show no block marks, no seams.

Built about 14 miles (23 km) northeast of Helena, Montana – to take advantage of the prewar hydroelectric dam there – Cloverleaf takes the shape of three large (approx. 1 mile diameter) walled circles, touching at one edge.

Two of these circles hold farmland; the third holds the city of Cloverleaf, itself taking the shape of three overlapping walled circles with a very tall tower in the center (where the three circles overlap). Three gates pierce the outer wall, one for each inner circle, and from those gates to the Tower in each circle runs a wide “Main Street.”

Each Main street is lined with inns and restaurants close to the gates, stores and shops and light industry (home crafts) in the middle of the circles, and apartment buildings then factories (still rather light industrial – think fabric, grain mills, stuff I haven’t quite figured out yet) closest to the Tower.

On the wide sidewalks on Main Street, street vendors abound, often taking over much of the street as well.

Most traffic is foot or horse-and-carriage; cars are rare although jury-rigged car-to-carriage/wagon set-ups are not uncommon, esp. in traders coming from the outside.

Fae are common, welcome, and visible here. Guards are visible at the front gate — they check in all guests with a level of interest that ranges from “casual hello” to “three-hour interrogation.” They also patrol the city, and so, while there is crime, it is not rampant.

Off Main Street, streets branch to either side in a very regular pattern. There are quite a few parks and green spaces, punctuating neighborhoods of houses, many of which have a certain sameness to them and a very pointedly stone construction: stone buildings with slate roofs, many painted or tinted in brilliant colors. Yards are big by pre-War city standards, big enough that you could, if you want, subdivide each yard and put a second house on it. Houses are small by pre-war Suburban standards but large enough to comfortably house large families.

Every house has running water and electricity; phone is not a thing and neither is TV but there are radios and radio programs. The library is huge and full of a very random, completely un-curated selection of “anything we can find.” There is also an art gallery – similar collection style – and a history museum.

Much of what is available is industrial-era technology, and there are a lot of scrounged and repurposed items, especially metal things.

Fashion is driven by a few very visible people, and has a sort of Turkish-meets-bazaar-meets-medieval feel much of the time. Cotton, linen, and wool are produced in/near Cloverleaf; the dyes are still mostly natural, except those things Meentiked up magically.

The Clover is the unit of currency; a 100-C bill is approx one day’s salary for a basic job.

The political system is a representative democracy under an unelected benign dictator; each circle has (at the beginning) 2 representatives into a council. There is also an appointed Administrator who works much like a VP/Speaker of the House. Economy is lightly taxed capitalism with basic needs for all citizens, the guard system, and maintenance of the city paid for by tax revenue.

Citizens are provided free basic hotel-style housing; there are no homeless in Cloverleaf (unless they want to be. Still working on that). Very basic food/clothing needs are also provided.

Cloverleaf does not, as far as I know, have an army.

It does have a Leo.

edits: Within ~20 years of its founding, Cloverleaf has a weather-moderation system intact. It does not entirely eliminate weather in the city, but what it does is raises the wintertime temperature sufficiently that longer-season crops can be grown, and that the punitive northern winters aren’t nearly as punitive.

Also, a mile away from the city or so on the non-river side, there is a hundred-acre forest butting up against and climbing the side of the foothills. Its trees are arranged in a disturbingly regular grid pattern, but it otherwise gives off the feeling of a very natural forest – plenty of plant diversity, wildlife diversity, undergrowth and such.

As the years go on, the forest is expanded by about a acre a year, with trees that are speed-grown up to the ~40-year-age mark and then allowed to go wild. There are probably also more naturally planted trees, as Cloverleaf citizens are allowed to hunt and farm this woods, but encouraged to maintain it as a long-term resource.

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Venison, a rather short story of Cloverleaf (@inspectrcaracal)

(This one born out of a dream in a rather different way than the last dream-story)

They didn’t hunt venison in or around Cloverleaf.

Oh, sure, sometimes someone snagged a buck for their table, but they did so on the sly, and they didn’t hang trophies.

There wasn’t a law against it — there were very few laws in Cloverleaf against what you could hunt, sell, or eat in terms of food, and they mostly said “don’t hunt or eat sentient beings” and “don’t sell poison or other non-foods as food.” But early on in the city’s life, someone had shown their founder-and-leader a prize trophy buck.

The proud hunter — and everyone around him — had noted the way Cya Red Doomsday went pale and a little green. And then someone took a long look at Leofric, one day in Autumn when his Mask was down.

Word got around, slowly but surely. And nobody hunted venison around Cloverleaf anymore.

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Train-of-Thought Cloverleaf Worldbuilding considerations

went like this:

– Cya starts trade routes relatively early on, as soon as she has trade goods in the city
– because of the climate control, Cloverleaf can produce crops not otherwise available that far north.
– Ooh, flour sacks. They have cotton…,
– (From that thinking about IRL examples skipped to)
– Baby Boxes:,
– Cya does a lot of basic-standard-of-life stuff, I bet they do this
– there are probably unwanted children. State-run creche/adoption center? Probably
– what about abortion? Oh, bog, abortion.
– “Government cheese” and basic rations? Still thinking about details here
– Free hostel-style housing, free xx months in actual housing – not designed to eliminate poverty but to eliminate some of the horrors of poverty
– booming fabrics market as well as the custom-made fashion set by people like our printing-press guy
– And BOOKS! Entertainment! !!
– Spices, spices are very important
– how much of the means of production does our dictator control? How much does she allow to be controlled by the elected government? (how much of a fascism is she okay with and does she slowly relinquish control?)

Side note: I figured out why she runs it as a dictatorship!

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