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The Bellamy, Chapter Three

The Bellamy Continues!

“Don’t get used to this.”

The café was presided over by a hawk-faced woman with magenta hair coiled in a bun atop her head. Under her pristine white apron she was wearing a lime green and sunshine orange tartan vest. She was also wearing what was not a scowl but could in no way be considered a smile, and the wrinkles on her face seemed to suggest it was the expression she wore habitually.

“You only get food like this two times.”  She held up a platter of delectable-smelling warm food. “Your first day and your last day. The rest of the time, you eat what everybody else eats.”

“What does… what does everybody else eat?” Veronika could only picture the buckets of kibble she’d seen in the holding area below the front desk, especially the one labelled humanoid.

“Food.” The woman rolled her eyes at Veronika.  “Everyone else eats food. It’s just that on your first and last day, we make it a little special. It’s a perk of the Bellamy. The sort of thing we do to make our employees — no we don’t call them employees do we — to make our team members feel welcome.” 

“It sounds,” Veronika offered carefully, “as if somebody read a book on morale building, and understood…” She hesitated over how to say this, but thought that it might possibly help her connection with the angry-looking woman.  “… Understood the words.

“But not the concepts.” The woman nodded and held out the hand that wasn’t offering the platter. “I’m Sylvester.” Continue reading

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A Story for B (or perhaps a beginning)

Written over 23 posts/toots for my friend B – beginning here

The girl, who had been named Malina Serafina Anastazja Dominika Naveed Jeleń nic Cecília O Alexandre (for several reasons beginning with but not limited to the little bubbling noises she made as an infant, several grandmothers, a grandfather, two prophecies, & three bequests with very specific qualifiers), who was called Princess or Your Highness by most people and ‘Lina only by her mother and her nurse, was lost.

She hadn’t intended to be lost. She’d intended only to wander off a little ways, since the party was so loud and the people were so… people.

Malina liked people fine, in small doses, but when it was a Royal Party, a birthday party for her sister, it just went on & on & on, and the people just went on & on & on as well. So, eventually, when enough people had shaken her hand & patted her shoulder & asked for her blessing, Malina wandered away from the crowd.

Lady Rosário threw a great party – this one was at her desert estate on the border – & was a friend of the crown – Continue reading

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The Bellamy, Chapter Two

A new series!

Veronika, two hours later, was pleased that learning fast was one of her chief traits.  She repeated back a bit of esoterica Uma had been working on hammering into her head and was rewarded by an actual smile from the woman. 

“Good.  I do believe that by lunch time you’ll have it all.  You’re quite good at this. That name…?”

“No relation, as far as I know.  But my family has been in library and museum work for several generations.”

“Ah, libraries, museums.”  Uma’s gesture was so dismissive Veronika really had to work not to take offense.  “They’re similar to the Bellamy, of course, but nothing is quite like the Bellamy.  We here are an Institution.  More than that, we are a fixture of the country and especially of this county.  What museum can say that?”

Several could, including several that Veronika’s family had worked in or still did, but she said, politely, “I stand corrected.”

Uma smiled, dropped the matter as if she had forgotten it, and moved on to the next lesson, which happened to involve intake of donations.  

The first portion of the lesson was nothing at all surprising, simply involving the Bellamy’s standard rule of anything brought into the Bellamy must be noted, whether it be a person or a donation or a creature.  When someone wished to donate books or statues or old suits of armor to the Bellamy, the woman manning the front desk would note everything available about both the donor and the donation before putting it – as much as possible – into the cart for the appropriate division. A good third of the lesson was simply on what department which sorts of donations would go to. 

But then Uma continued on, as if she was saying nothing at all unusual, “if the donation is still alive – or at least breathing or making noises and moving – then you must not only log it but make certain it is contained.  We cannot have donations simply wandering about the Bellamy. They leave all sorts of messes and get into all sorts of trouble. For those, you’ll go down this hatch here,” she tapped her foot in a specific spot in the floor and a hatch popped open, easily large enough to fit two abreast and revealing a wide, sturdy-looking staircase of cut stone.  “And bring the donation and the donor with you. The donor is responsible for the donation until it is placed in one of these cages. After that, contact the appropriate department and move from there.”

There was a very large dog in one of the cages, but the others – which ranged in size from rabbit-size to tiger-sized – were all empty.  “So the dog-?”

“I contacted Hunting and Trophies. He’s a Great Mastiff Winslow Hunter, a very rare breed indeed.  I believe they have two others, and hopefully one of those is a female.”

“The Bellamy collects… animals?”

“The Bellamy collects everything.”  This time, Uma looked quite disappointed in her. “We wouldn’t be much of an archive if we didn’t, now would we?  So, with living donations, the process is almost entirely the same as with non-living donations, but you may have to contact several departments until you reach one which accepts the donation.  If they take their time – this will also happen with non-living donations, but it is less urgent, of course – you will need to feed and water the donations. Here is the sink,” she gestured, and then filled a pitcher from that sink which she used to fill a suitably large bowl for the mastiff.  “And then here is the food cupboard. Get as close as you can.” 

As close as you can.  Veronika watched as Uma opened the cupboard.  There were large containers marked with things like Canine, bovine, caprine, feline, humanoid.

Humanoid.

Uma filled an equally large bowl with the canine food and slid it to the mastiff.  “Twice a day, and twice a day, afterwards, remind the department that they have a donation here.  You don’t want to let them forget about it, because they will, and then you will end up feeding someone’s horse for weeks.  At least the rest of it is cleaned up by the belt system.”

She pushed a button; a set of bells chimed and then the floor under the mastiff moved slowly backwards, the food dishes staying in their place but everything else being swept off.  The mastiff moved its feet in time with the belt until another bell chimed and the belt stopped. 

“Most creatures learn fast.  Some just let themselves be pushed against the back wall.  Those, those I call their department three or four times a day.  They can get a little smelly rather quickly.”

Veronika decided she was going to assume humanoid meant some sort of fairy or golemn and tried to forget about it for the time being.  “All right, twice a day any living collections are watered, fed, the belts run, and then we remind the department in question to come pick them up.  You have a log for that?”

“We have logs for everything.”  Uma’s smile looked tired, more like exhausted.  “I’ll show you.”

Back upstairs they went and Uma produced a log labelled Live Donation Holding.  She flipped to the page held by a green ribbon and marked the date, the time, and the animal. 

Veronika scanned the rest of the page – it went back two months with only three other living donations – a cat and a horse.  The cat had taken the longest for a department to pick up. 

“And now.”  She picked up the headset of an ancient phone and dialed 3 on the rotary dial.  A moment later, Veronika could make out a voice coming from the earpiece. 

Yes Uma – soon.  Very soon.”

“Today, Delphine,” Uma asserted.  “There’s a new archivist training and I don’t want her to have to deal with such things her first week.”

“-break her in.  Better if-“

“Today, Delphine,” Uma repeated herself.  “Today.  Do not leave poor Miss Bellamy to deal with this beast before she even knows where to find the loo.”

“I still think that she ought- -better when -that way.

“And I’m sure Miss Haas is very interested in your ideas, but I am training Miss Bellamy.  Today, Delphine.”

Uma hung up.  “I do apologize for that.  Delphine has been here since the Greek kalendae, and she does tend to be rather stuck in her ways.  She’d prefer we just set new archivists loose on the beginning of their first day and trail along later to sweep up what remains of the first ninety-nine of a hundred, as happened in her time.”

Veronika felt like there ought to be at least two places to giggle in that sentence, but Uma didn’t look amused, just – well, apologetic.

“There’s someone like that in every office,” she offered in bland understanding and a sort of conversational filler.  It seemed to work. 

“Hopefully, she’ll be here before you go on lunch and you can meet her, if only to know who to avoid as much as possible.”

“That sounds – well, it sounds wise,” Veronika allowed.  “What are we covering next?”

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The Bellamy, Chapter One

A new series!

“Come on in, come on in.  I wasn’t expecting anyone today, was I?”

The woman smiling at Veronika from the other side of the door – which she had not moved out of sufficiently to allow Veronika to, as suggested, come in – looked far too tidy for her confused expression.  Her salt-and-pepper hair was confined in an amazingly tidy bun; her vest and skirt fit her perfectly; her glasses were held on a decorative beaded string that coordinated with her outfit, and her make-up was on point. 

“I’m not certain,” Veronika admitted.  She, herself, was attempting not to feel untidy – she’d put a lot of work into her outfit and thought she was very nicely coordinated, but this woman….!  “Eve Dirckx contacted me through the temp agency. She told me to come here, to this side door–” she gestured at the door in question and the little parking lot outside of it “–at 8 a.m. today.  Well, the twenty fifth of November at 8 a.m…?” Veronika was beginning to wonder if she’d gotten something awfully wrong. “This is the Bellamy Manor Archival Library and Museum, yes?”

“The twenty-fifth of November – Wednesday?”  The woman peered at her over her glasses.

“Monday?” Veronika offered. Continue reading

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The Visit

He could have had any man or woman in the whole nation — probably in several of the adjacent nations as well. He was a brilliant man,a dashing pirate, and his airship was one of the finest known to navy nor fleet. He was a folk hero the likes of which had not come since Dywin Talizen in the age of stories and myths.

And his airship had ducked in, dodging the royal navy ships and the cannons, to visit a political prisoner in a quiet exile in a mountainous corner. He had brought her a rose, the sort of gift that fit the stories, risking everything for a romantic gesture.

He couldn’t stay long; he couldn’t even risk a kiss, even if she would have accepted it. But he brought her a rose.

And he brought her a key.

Continue reading

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Bits of a story born from a dream

The dream ended the first time at about the first scene below, after the viewpoint character was Undergoing A Complicated Challenge In the Nether Realms, but she was definitely the daughter of (someone important in hell) and (someone female important some other way).  The story has been tiddling around in my head since. 

~

“That’s a nice collar.”  Her fingers brushed the air near it.  “Would you like to wear mine instead?”

“Dey…” Chris’s words were a warning.  “You just saw her…”

“I saw her climb out of the Nether Realms like she owned the place.”   Dey was a little impressed.  He was also more than a little turned on. “And now she wants to put her collar on me?” Continue reading

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For The Best

Dark Hermione, complicit Harry, post-books and ignoring the Epilogue.

This is mad magiscience, with most of the actual results being offscreen, but it still involves attempting to reproduce the effects of the Imperius Curse without using an Unforgivable, and it does involve human (wizard) experimentation.

And I kind of want to expand it.

Continue reading

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World Building June Day 11-12 – Language, Creatures, Government

It’s World-Building June!  So I’m building Worlds!  Aerax/Expectant Woods over on Patreon, and Bear Empire and a new thing here!

It’s also June WorldBuilding – so we’re getting two sets of prompts.  

Still going on the catch-up!

11. What’s language like in your world?

The language of the Empire of the Bear is technically three related languages that have many similarities but are not always mutually comprehensible.  (And three others which are used in very small sections, one of which nobody can understand)

The language family as a whole of the five larger languages is a liquid tongue with a lot of vowels and active tongue use, a popping plosive, and tonal mood shifts and sometimes meaning shifts.  The Lynx language tends to drop initial and final consonant sounds and sometimes repeat vowels; the Fox language involves repetition and a lot more popping sounds, as well as some trills. The Cat people have a lot more trills in their language as well as a whistle-sound.  And the Elk people, only one word in twenty is recognizable between their dialect and the others. Theirs tends towards complicated vowel combinations and often seems to require hand gestures. Continue reading

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