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Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 14 (A Story for B)

Began here.
Chapter 2 here
Chapter 3 here.
Chapter 4 here.
Chapter 5 here.
Chapter 6 here.
Chapter 7 here.
Chapter 8 here.
Chapter 9 here.
Chapter 10 here.
Chapter 11 here.
Chapter 12 here.
Chapter 13 here.

Malina paced.  “This is – this is strange,” she complained. 

The silks of her new clothing brushed across her legs with every step.  The sandals made shhussshing noises on the tile floor. 

That in itself was strange. Everything was different from her normal clothing, from her normal floors, from her normal shoes.  The carved stone screens were like nothing she had at home. The bed, even, was made differently from any bed she’d ever slept in before last night.  Everything was like living in a storybook, which – 

You were named to this position.  We have been waiting for you. Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 16

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It’s never really taken anyone forever.  The woman across the table smiled around a nibble of pocket quiche. 

“You know,” Veronika mused.  The sandwiches looked delicious; they even smelled delicious.  “None of this was anywhere in the job description. And the first half of the day -”  She frowned. “It wasn’t, was it?”

“Well, it depends on how you look at it.  It depends on some other things, as well.” Amanana put two sandwiches on her plate and gestured to the platter, then to Veronika’s plate.  “How much do you want to know?”

Veronika picked two that looked the best.  “I want to say everything, but I suppose the question needs to be what’s the danger in knowing too much?” Continue reading

Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 13 (A Story for B)

Began here.
Chapter 2 here
Chapter 3 here.
Chapter 4 here.
Chapter 5 here.
Chapter 6 here.
Chapter 7 here.
Chapter 8 here.
Chapter 9 here.
Chapter 10 here.
Chapter 11 here.
Chapter 12 here.

The Princess Malina  – Malina Serafina Anastazja Dominika Naveed Jeleń nic Cecília O Alexandre, who had always considered her long name to be more of a formality of being born a princess, rather like a carpenter’s child would have some sort of wood in their naming and a weaver’s child would have some sort of fiber, but now was learning that her name was some sort of way of anchoring her to some ancient magic, along with everything else she was learning during this particularly weird time – finished her breakfast and dressed herself in the silks and sandals provided by fish-sprites. 

She smoothed the clothes down over her body and found that she looked very old-fashioned, but so old-fashioned it was like she had stepped out of a history book, rather than like she had borrowed her grandmother’s clothing.  Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 15

Sorry for missing a week~ Dermatologist visit!

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The pair left her at the doorway of Supernatural and the Occult, both of them smiling, both of them saying they were going to talk to Miss Haas. Two had slipped a packet of cookies into Veronika’s pocket, too, which pressed against her leg in a weird, crinkly way, like a token of some sort of kinship.  She spent a moment looking at the door – it was big, a couple feet taller than she was and proportionally wider, a heavy-looking wooden door – not oak, maybe something like – cherry, she realized, she’d seen that somewhere, probably in the Fillion.  It was carved all about with figures, what looked like demons and angels, pegasi and unicorns and what she thought were probably kelpies. 

The top half had a window – carved so it looked like it was held up by the unicorn and the kelpie, riding on a pegasus’ back – which itself was a complicated stained glass ritual circle.  Continue reading

Supernatural Health Department

This story came about because I was doing Speech to Text on the way to/way back from my dermatologist (in the next state over!) and while “writing” the Bellamy, it misread something I was trying to say as “The Supernatural Health Department.”

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“We are the Supernatural Health Department, ma’am. ” They both held up badges. They both smiled, the kind of smarmy smiles that were usually annoying, but it was easy to forgive them that, because they were one tall drink of water, and one extra tall drink of water; the one who was only tall, not giant, had dimples when you smile like that. Continue reading

Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 12 (A Story for B)

Began here.
Chapter 2 here
Chapter 3 here.
Chapter 4 here.
Chapter 5 here.
Chapter 6 here.
Chapter 7 here.
Chapter 8 here.
Chapter 9 here.
Chapter 10 here.

 

The fish-sprites chose that moment to arrive, which at least changed the mood if not improved it. One was pushing a large tray of food in front of it, the whole thing floating in mid-air. Another had a tray with piles of clothing; a third and fourth were managing a writing desk that was thick with carvings.

“Oh, oh wow.  Thank you, all of you. Thank you.”  Malina patted the air near all of the sprites.  “Thank you,” she repeated.  “This is quite a bit.  Thank you.”  She stretched and made her way to the little table, where the sprites had set everything.  “You are very good – very good sprites?” she offered.  “Very good spirits,” she added.  “Very good at serving me,” she tried.

How did you even talk to sprites?

They chittered at her, a trilling sound that went up and down and up and down again like it was running up the stairs. 

“You did a good job,” she added one more time. Continue reading

The Bound Demon, a snippet from a dream

Content warnings right up front: violence.  Very sideways implied rape. More violence.  Kidnapping. Broken bones. Burns. They are not treating this demon very nicely, okay?

Also, he may not be a demon. 

Snippet from a very nice dream (yeah, really!) where Wyste was writing a story based on a one-line post someone else had made.  This was just one flash of a scene but it wanted to be written so, here we go.

~*~

Continue reading

Malina and the Border Banners, Chapter 11 (A Story for B)

Began here.
Chapter 2 here
Chapter 3 here.
Chapter 4 here.
Chapter 5 here.
Chapter 6 here.
Chapter 7 here.
Chapter 8 here.
Chapter 9 here.
Chapter 10 here.

 

 

The bed was soft and fluffy; it smelled of an herb Malina could almost remember and it felt like sleeping in a pile of silk and feathers, which she thought might be a bit more accurate than intended. 

The sand-cat slept on the pillow Malina wasn’t using, and thankfully, he did not snore. 

She had fallen asleep far more easily than she’d expected – a strange place with nothing but the reassurances of a cat that she was safe; a place far from home where magic seemed to do all the housekeeping, when she had considered magic something that was barely in one’s life, or at least barely in her life; a place where she was still, when she came down to it, quite lost.  She had slept solidly, but as the sun filtered in through screens of silk, paper, wood, and stone, all of her dreams were loud in her memory. 

She opened her eyes to the bedroom, the Queen’s sleeping-chamber, which was draped in silk so that the limestone walls seemed very far away, although it was not a huge room.  She closed her eyes to pull back to mind the banners flying in the air, crisp and perfect.  

“Three spears azure, upright, oh, bother.”  Malina furrowed her brow.  “I was never good at all that terminology.  Three spears azure, upright, per chevron, with tips bloody, on a field vert, the border or.”  She saw the banner fluttering, and it seemed to her like the blood on the spears, the spears themselves, were suddenly real.  

“The three chiefs of the place that became the Ever-Flowing Fountain, the Karanala.”  The cat had not yet opened his eyes.  It didn’t seem to matter.  “They lay their spears down on the green grass where it still remained green and not red with blood, and they swore an ever-lasting peace, so long as the fountain flowed.” Continue reading

The Bellamy, Chapter 14

We’re done discussing human remains for the time being!-

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“You broke her.  One, you broke her, and she was nice.”

“Oh, come off it, she was too nice to be real.  If she’s a little broken, maybe she’ll be more -“

“More real?  You’re saying that and you’re you and you’re saying that to me and-“

“Not broken,” Veronika interrupted.  She was still crouched on the floor.  She was still holding her face in both hands.  She didn’t really want to move.  She hadn’t really wanted to interrupt; the interaction between the two of them was fascinating.  But –  “I’m not broken.”  That was important. “I’m angry, and I’m… understanding something, I suppose.  And I’m angry.”

“You said that already.”

“No, she said it differently the second time, don’t you ever pay attention?”

Impossible to tell which was which without looking; they had the same voice.  Veronika looked up.  “Your voice copied better than your image.”

“You should see our livers,” Two quipped.  “Thank Carlson, you’re not broken.  Angry is – angry is good.”

“Why is angry good?” She felt like a fool, down on the floor.  Slowly, Veronika unfolded back to her feet.  She was surprised to find both Two and One taking an elbow and helping her up – up and away from the skeletons.  

“Because,” One answered for her sister/copy/twin/duplicate/clone? “for one thing, it’s an active emotion.  Or two emotions, I suppose.  And for another, what is the quote? ‘If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention?’ I believe that second angry means that you’re paying attention, which speaks to your chances of survival here even more than you breaking the sunbeam’s grasp.”

Veronika looked between them.  “You want me to… you want me to be angry, no.  You want me to be paying attention.  You want me to pay attention because you want me to survive.”

“Both.  They feed into each other.”  One nodded, a very bare smile crossing her lip.  “If you’re the sort that pays attention, that’s good for the Bellamy.  Sometimes, Miryam just hires people because they’re, well, because they have an archival skill.  That’s great, of course, we’re an archive.  But you need more than archival skill to survive the Bellamy, and,-“

“And the Bellamy needs more than archivists,” her sister/clone/duplicate picked up.  “Bellamy needs, well.”

“More people like us,” One snorted.  “And obviously, we can’t just…”

“Duplicate ourselves.”  Two snorted identically.  “Like we said.  Our livers.”

“Your livers.  Right.” Veronika straightened out.  “You do realize that if you two happen to be putting me on about any of this, I am never bringing you any of our family wine.  And that is actually a punishment.”

They shared a look.  One nodded politely at Veronika.  “Then it’s good we’re not putting you on.  We’ve done that, of course, but not with people who, not with people who were handling things well, if that’s any consolation.”

“Not consolation,” Two corrected.  “Because we haven’t done anything to her, except you were a little rude to her.  More like reassurance.”

“I swear, I did not put a dictionary in the – anyway.  We’re going to walk you to Supernatural and Occult.  There aren’t that many more dangers this way, but, uh.  I’d rather be sure.  And then we can put in a word for you with Amanana.  She’s, ah, interesting.”

“Interesting?”  She glanced over to One.  “You, you are saying someone is interesting.”

“Well, she is – she is interesting. She doesn’t run Supernatural and Occult all of the time – our department is one of the only ones that stays with the same people all the time, and that’s because nobody wants to deal with it but us.”

“Well, also because-”  Two made a gesture that seemed to indicate something.  Veronika could guess that it was because they were duplicates, but it could have meant that they were short, comparatively, or just smarter at technology, or had bad hearts. Veronika discovered that the idea of trying to figure out which just made her tired. 

“Tch.  Come on, I thought we agreed we wanted Veronika to stay.”  One smacked Two on the shoulder.  “Don’t be all mysterious and weird right now, save that for the tourists.”

Two sulked.  Veronika didn’t bother to stifle a small giggle. 

That, weirdly, made Two stop sulking.  “I guess it’s a bit silly, isn’t it?  You’ve already guessed it, or close enough.  So Amanana, she likes reactions, so you don’t have to hide yours if you have one or anything, but just – well, if we tell you, she’ll be annoyed.  Come on, this way.  Oh, see this line of boxes?”  Two turned a bit to point at a row of boxes that were painted with a red line.  “That’s the safe point for the sunbeam… thing.”

Veronika blinked.  “You just changed subjects three times in one breath,” she muttered.  “Red line.”  She looked over the line again.  “Because you can’t put up a wall.”

“It gets aggressive.”  Two made a face. “I know, I wish we’d get rid of the thing, too.  Maybe now that I tell Miryam that it’s been eating people, eating trainees, well, no, of course not, we always knew it did that-“

“We tell her it tried to eat Miss Bellamy and she might think differently,” One countered. “Maybe we can shutter the damn thing or stick it in a ritual circle or something.”

“I wouldn’t want to be on the team that had to work with that.  At least it’s not a reproduction,” Two added.  They were walking Veronika through the passages of shelves of boxes, taking seemingly random turns. She wondered if she was meant to be distracted from the specifics or if this was yet another test.

She glanced at the boxes she was passing.  Something about Pompeii.  She caught her breath and glanced at Two.  “An unsolved murder in Pompeii?” she murmured. 

“Or something else unsolved,” One answered.  “They’re not all murders.  They’re not even all unsolved cases. Some of them are just storage.  A lot of them are just storage.”  She gave Veronika a strange look – strange even for her, as far as Veronika’s experience went.  “Unsolved murders?”

Veronika flushed. “I don’t know where that came from.  I honestly have no idea.  I just looked at the boxes and thought  – this time, not the first time – I thought unsolved murders.”  She wrinkled her nose.  “That’s not normally like me.”

“It’s not all that far off,” One admitted.  “We didn’t pass the sign that said this part was unsolved crimes, but that’s where we are.  I don’t think, ah.  I don’t think it’s a bad sort of not normal,” she added considerately.  “I think that you’re just getting a feel for the Bellamy.  It talks to you – and that’s a good thing.  The ones who stay for any length of time, it talks to all of us.”

“You realize -” she swallowed slowly.  “You realize that’s what they say about the archives, and they don’t say it as a good thing?  Be careful.  You spend too much time in places like that and they start to talk to you.  It gets under your skin.”

Her university advisor had told her that, actually. Twice, in slightly different wording, and then once in a very short form when do you want me to check up on you? To make sure that you’re still you?

Both One and Two were looking at her.  “And what do you think?” One asked her quietly. 

“I think – I think that if I turn left here, I’m going to be in the Supernatural department.”  She looked between them.  “And I think that the window won’t catch me again.  But I still think you ought to get rid of it.”

We,” Two corrected her, but she was doing something that was almost a smile.  “We ought to get rid of it.”

Want more?

The Bellamy, Chapter 13

Content warning for the below chapter: mention of human remains.

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“It’s you, shit.”  Hands landed on both of Veronika’s shoulders and pulled her backwards.  She let herself be pulled backwards, until even her toes were out of the sunlight.  “Do – do many people scream up here?”

“No.”  She thought it was Two behind her, but that voice was coming to the side of her.  She glanced over – Two was frowning at her.  “No.  Usually, they don’t scream at all if they make it that far.  You managed to pull yourself out and to scream.”  She shook her head.  “I figured it was Four, maybe, or maybe uh, one of the older ones who sometimes forget.  I didn’t think you’d come way over here,” she added, accusation thick in her voice.  “This isn’t the way to Supernatural and Occult.”

“It is if you’re trying to see as much of the Bellamy as you can without taking too much time,” the voice behind her commented.  So similar, just a little smoother.  One moved over to Veronika’s left, flanking her.  “But you might have noticed that can be dangerous here.” Continue reading