A New World 20: Drinks

First: A New World
Previous: The Hoija

Kael didn’t need the potion to tell her what he was asking; what she did need was some way to tell her if she wanted to agree to his proposition.

“Maybe not tonight?” she offered, hoping that would go over as she meant it.

From the rueful look on his face, probably not.

“I just moved in here,” she tried.  “And I don’t even know where everything is yet.  In a week – next Yorday? – I’ll have drinks to offer you that aren’t potion reagents.” Continue reading

A New World: The Hoija

First: A New World
Previous: Two Kael

Everyone knowing about the Hoeraija is your fault.

Kael raised her eyebrows at this scholar, this Dennor. (Hightower.  Had his family been potion-masters? That was something for another time.)

“I beg your pardon?”  she demanded archly.

He flapped his hand, amused.  “That’s ‘your’ fault.” He dropped quote marks in the air. “Your namesake.  Because she settled among the Hoija, because she built her tower there – here, because she, foremost among the old wizards -”

“Wizards?”  Her potion provided a meaning, but it wasn’t one that made any sense to her. Continue reading

Weather in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Rainclouds in the Bear Empire

Deline hadn’t had time or the right environment to make her protective shield very big; she had spent the energy she had on making it strong instead.  The line of force, a wobbling red-orange from inside, gave them just enough room to lie down, if they lay very close to each other. Standing up wouldn’t work, except in the one spot where the half-wall went all the way up to the ceiling joists; she had used the walls as two of her delimiters.

“What….”  Carrone ducked as the first hail hit the outside of the half-house and bounced off of their shelter.  “What?” he repeated. “What is this devil-begotten place that you call home, woman? The sky is throwing ice at us!  And we – we are in-” He looked around. “It’s a magical tent, isn’t it? That’s all it is.” Continue reading

The Portal Closed 4: The Other Side

Previous: Searching for Answers

They spent hours looking at the papers before they had to go back to their childhoods, back to chores and schoolwork and things that, some days, seemed downright constraining.

Barbara’s mother, happy she was “taking some initiative” helped her put together a flyer for babysitting, and helped her post it at the Library – the proper downtown one, which had never been abandoned because, bright and shiny and brand-new, it didn’t tend to lose kids in its recesses.  It had no portals to other worlds.  Barbara had looked.

With three others posted  – grocery store, post office, and their church – Barbara returned home to some math homework that was only exciting if she thought about it in terms of national economies and some literature homework that was so stultifying she added in a 2-page book review of The Wealth of Nations.  Surely that counted as literature, didn’t it? Continue reading

Hurt/Comfort: Minder

Written to R.Coots’ prompt. Some bodily injury, but no serious violence and no real loss of consent. 


Ravi wasn’t exactly running, but he was hurrying.  He had someplace to be. He really had to get there soon, or he was going to lose yet another blind date to his own stupidi-

The crack in the sidewalk grabbed his foot and sent him sprawling.  Last pair of nice pants – ruined. Palms of his hands – ruined. Face – banged.  Chances at this date – gone.

“Oh, shit.  Look at you.”

He didn’t recognize the voice, but there were hands on him, lifting him up.  “Come on. You’re an absolute mess.”

“Nuala?”  He did recognize the voice.  Blind date #2. He’d spilled sauce on both of them. Continue reading

A New World: Two Kael

First: A New World
Previous: Dinner, and Things to Chew On

She ate her food slowly, but with gusto.  It may have been only one long night to her, but it still seemed like a long time since she’d had a taste of home.

Dennor Hightower was staring at her.  She looked up from her food and waited, patiently.

“Kael,” he repeated slowly, “is not a Lerienoijen name.  You said Lerienoijen.  How many scholars know that word?”

“I don’t know.  How many?”

“I know three.  One of them is me.  And I’ve never heard of you.” Continue reading

Rainclouds in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Magic in the Bear Empire


That night, they camped under the dubious shelter of a quick lean-to in the middle of a dense stand of pine trees.  The weather cooperated in precipitation, if not in temperature, and Deline woke to find herself pressed against Carrone for warmth.

They were quiet as they walked, working out all of the kinks and sore spots from sleeping on the ground, and when a trader passed them, he left them well alone.  Deline imagined they must look like they were in a horribly foul mood, dangerous people you didn’t want to get too close to.

The gendarme who came upon them several hours later clearly wasn’t worried about that. He glowered at them and asked them questions about a recent robbery nearby and several other issues – thankfully, none of which they’d been involved in. Continue reading

A New World: Dinner, and Things to Chew On

First: A New World
Previous: The People

The lay-out of food was almost exactly as Kael remembered it, with the addition of what had to be a couple modern foods.  Everything was set up on one long table, with three tables for eating at – Joaon had built one of those tables by hand, she remembered.  She could still see the adze marks.

There were several people sitting at the tables – the gift-shop man and a woman in a smock and loose pants, another girl in the same outfit as the gift-shop man, and one person who caught Kael’s eye immediately.

They were not wearing clothing that marked them as part of the staff, but they were so utterly the epitome of Hoeraijen handsomeness that they – he, had to be male – took Kael’s breath away.  He was wearing what she thought were modern clothes, sitting by himself at the end of a table, and he was reading while he ate. Continue reading

Magic in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Waiting in the Bear Empire


“This is why Halor hates the Empire. You know that, don’t you?  It’s probably why Dekleg hates the Empire, too.” Carrone wasn’t looking at Deline.  She didn’t blame him.

“Probably,” she agreed.  She walked alongside him, pacing him.  As long as she kept walking, he would probably keep walking too.  “It’s also why the Empire has issues with Halor and Dekleg – and a few others I could name.  It’s mutual.” She smirked tiredly. She’d heard those arguments more times than she cared to remember.

“You used… what’s the difference, anyway?”

“Sorcery uses spirits and, ah, spirit-like beings to get done what it must.  Magery uses a combination of the natural forces of the world and scholarly understanding.  Sorcery requires moving around living things – souls, spirits, sometimes creatures. Magery usually only requires natural elements – usually stones and sands, sometimes plants.” Continue reading

A New World: the People

First: A New World
Previous: Taking Stock

Half Yordiy off was better than she’d expected to get, if she was being honest, and all she had to do was draw up a safer version of things she’d been doing for years.

“Thank you, Mr. Vibius.”  He reminded Kael strongly of the people she had known before she’d become a potion-mistress and ruler of her own domain.  She knew how to act around him, but that didn’t make it the least bit pleasant. “You said the food was on the third floor?”

“Yep.  It’s always there.  I don’t get it, I really don’t, but it’s always there.”

Kael suppressed a smile.  Jaoan had been working on that for years.  She wondered how long it had taken him to perfect it.  “Thank you. If nobody is here to ask me about potions, I will go and eat now.”

“You’re really taking this seriously.”  He looked at a small glowing piece of glass for a moment.  “There’s three people in the museum, but they’re taking their down  in the Lives of the Ancient Natives and Potions Then and Now displays.  The Lives one really gets a lot of attention,” he confided. “People like going through how people lived back before, uh,” he coughed, “before the modern era.  We get a lot of yelling, too.” He smiled grimly. “People who say there’s no way things could have been like that.” Continue reading