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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

Waiting in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Sneaking Through the Bear Empire

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“Shhh,” he murmured, and sat down next to her.  He moved his hands for a moment in military sign she didn’t recognize, and then, with a frustrated expression, drew in the dust on the ground.

She could read Deklegi script just fine: one man, hunter or farmer.

Not a threat – but right now they wanted nobody to know they had been there, much less to be able to give a reasonable description of their appearance.  She nodded and lay flat on the ground, concentrating on being as quiet as she could be. Next to her, Carrone did the same.

In the silence, she could hear the occasional twig snap as the man below them moved along.  He had the quiet step of someone used to the terrain, but she had the ears of someone who was being hunted and had been many times before.  From Carrone’s expression, his ears were nearly as good.

The man was tracking something – she hadn’t left tracks, had she?  It was too late to fix that, if she had. If he came up here… Continue reading

Sneaking through the Bear Empire

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

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Deline woke to find herself pressed up against Carrone and his arm draped over her in turn.  She moved slowly, trying not to wake him. She needed to get her thoughts together and form a plan.  “Head off into nowhere” was more like a flight in terror than an actual battle plan, and it would take her longer and longer to get home.  

That would, of course, probably make Carrone happy.  Out here, he could still pretend everything was more or less the same – except the part where he was bound to her and they were being hunted by bounty hunters that had been his associates.  

Come to think of it, that wasn’t much the same at all, was it?  She glanced over at him. She knew nothing about him, except that he had tried to kill her – twice – and failed – twice and then saved her life from another bounty hunter.   Continue reading

Renovation Fics

These are a few microfics, written to prompts for my Renovations Prompt Mini-Call (which is still open as long as I keep getting prompt).

Claim the Sun

The tree was ancient, the sort of monster that managed to live through a convergence of luck and good soil, best placement and the weakness of her neighbors.  She had sucked up all the sunlight for what seemed, to the younger trees, like miles. And she had, in turn, sucked up lightning blasts.

It had been the last one that killed her, cutting through old scar tissue and toppling her in a  crash louder than any thunder. Continue reading

Poaching in the Bear Empire

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

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They left the wagon near the front of a farmhouse, making sure the horses were comfortable and had plenty of grass to munch on, and set off on foot, each of them carrying a bag.  As soon as they reached an intersection, they turned off the wagon-road, heading towards the foothills.

Dusk came on them sooner than they’d have liked, the air turning cool as the sun ducked behind the mountains. Deline began looking for a reasonable place to stop for the night. Continue reading

Dying in the Bear Empire

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

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“You might thank me for saving your life along with my own.”

Carrone snorted and bowed in his seat.  “Thank you kindly.  but what makes you so important that the Deklegion would want to risk the wrath of the bounty guild?”

She smiled enigmatically.  “You’ll see eventually.  The thing is… as far as they know, right now, I’m an agent of the Empire. And that much is true.” Continue reading

Last Night’s Writing

Last night, I was feeling like I was running on one cylinder and running out of gas, but I play this writing game, 4theWords, and I really wanted to move up one step on the leaderboards for battles.

Which meant 4 130-word (or so) battles.

So I asked for suggestions on Mastodon, and this is what  came of it. 

Well, technically, two of these weren’t even from suggestions…

But anyway!  Words!

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Filling the Boots

He woke and shook out the cards. Continue reading

Traitors

Now on Patreon!

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Nobody had expected the Trees to be the ones to go over.

The Zedriygro had been pushing at the Atraoya borders for years now.  They had been sending in agents – some of them Human, but just as many Elf or Centaur or Animal expats who had been living either in Zedriyg or in neighboring Glasia, beyond the red sands, for years or even generations, having fled, one might assume, the Quartering that had caused this whole mess in the first place

Open to all Patreon patrons!

Traditions in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Hiding In the Bear Empire

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Carrone was unsurprisingly quiet as they left Teshone’s.  Deline let it go as they strode down the avenue, but when they got to the carriage house, where the next outbound carriage would soon be heading towards the Imperial Seat, she broke the silence.

“Do you know what happens if someone bound with a Bear-stone bracelet kills the holder of the bracelet – or if the holder dies through other means?”

She noticed the way his shoulders tensed.  She couldn’t bring herself to feel bad about that. Continue reading

Hiding in the Bear Empire

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Moving through the Bear Empire

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“…a bodyguard who is happy with his work is more effective.”

Carrone snorted at that answer, but took the moment to open a door in the wall that was so effectively sandwiched between two other buildings she’d almost missed it.  “I should go first, in case Teshone is in.”

“As you wish.”  She gestured up the stairs.  Was he leading her into a trap?  She had one hand on her knife-hilt as they navigated the narrow stairs, her senses on high alert.  There was nobody moving upstairs.  Something like a mouse scratched in the wall to her left.  To the right, the sickly smell of a hatter’s seemed to leech through the wall.

“Here.” The staircase terminated in a narrow landing with three doors; he unlocked the one to the right.  Over the hatter’s, then.  From there there were three more doors.

“This is beginning to look like a puzzle box,” she muttered. Continue reading