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On the Edge

They had always lived on the edge.

Iai had heard of other families where they did not; on occasion, they had wandered inland and met such families.  They traded in things that one could farm in a stable, calm environment; they sold things that required land and water in different ratios and which often would not do well quite so close to an edge.

But Iai’s family lived on the edge.  Their home was built such that if one walked out onto the roof, in one direction would be the inland, and in the other direction, one would be looking down over the edge into the river far below.   Their front porch let one sit with one’s toes dangling off into the air.

Of course, there was not much time for such things.  There were always the iaini-bird eggs to gather, down along the thin edges of cliff where only Iai’s family and others like them could make their way.  There were the ronuno and apree herb-plants to collect, those things that wanted the droppings of the iaini-birds and the misted air from the waterfall below.  There were the nets to drop down, down, down, to haul back up full of lost goods from upriver, full of fish and shellfish and all sorts of goodies.
Then there was all that to trade to the inlanders for their mutton and chicken and grain, things that could not grow on cliffs or hanging off the edge, like Iai, like Iai’s brothers Ronu and Pree.  The cycle of collect and trade, collect and trade worked like their safety lines, like the railing on the porch and on the roof – it was a bit frayed, a bit thin at times, but in the end, they managed to keep from falling over the edge.
But, feet on a ledge barely wide enough to be seen, leaning down into the iaini-bird nest to gather eggs and ronuno, Iai never forgot exactly how close that edge was.


Written to Oct. 18’s Thimbleful Thursday Challenge

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Thimbleful Thursday: Enigma

It came out over coffee, the way many things do.

In the Bureau of Enigmas, there was an entire department devoted to Mapping, and yet the seven of them rarely consulted.  Each would pick a phenomenon – or, more often, be assigned one – and would map out its trends.

This was not, despite the name, soley geographic mapping, but tracking over time and over demographic notes.

The Bureau covered such a large span of enigmas – cryptids and their wake at one end, the Tiny Ones at the other end – that there was always some trend that needed documenting, some break in reality that needed following and studying so that, if the study itself did not heal it (and in 45.6% of the time, it did), those that were tasked with dealing with such things could do their job equipped with the most information possible. Forewarned is forearmed, the saying went, and in the Bureau of Enigmas, forearmed often meant the difference between life and death.

Still, despite the work, there were always coffee breaks.  And when three Mappers happened to be sipping dark, fresh coffee with the slight taste of the Other-Sphere, they did as all people did, whatever the papers or oaths or soul-binding contacts suggested, and they chatted.

Today they were chatting about three things with no pattern, a plague, a spate of madness, and a serial killer.  None of them appeared to be settling into anything regular.  None of them were predictable, and predictable was important.

Until one mentioned Chicago and the other two stared.

Twenty minutes later, coffee forgotten, they had put their three maps together.  There, in Chicago, there was their nexus.  And from there-

“There’s a method,” one of them breathed.

“It’s madness,” another one muttered.  But most of what they did was madness.

“But it’s a shape,” the third agreed.  “There’s a pattern to the madness.”

They rang an intern to tell Field.  They had their Enigma.

 


Written To Oct. 25th’s Thimbleful Thursday Prompt, although not really in the wordcount. 

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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

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.

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Quite Pleasant

Story written to @SkySailor’s prompt on Mastodon, because it is that sort of day. 

Content warning: Non-consensual sex (not in detail but definitely there), incarceration, impregnation, transportation, and almost anything else you can think of that ends in – ation

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Running in the Bear Empire 26: A Place

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Magery

🐻

Stupid Bears…  Deline found her hands clenching into fists.  “Don’t,” she warned Carrone.  “Don’t.  Don’t say that.  Not the Bear, not the Fox, not the Lynx.  Don’t.”

His head jerked up and his lips curled back in something that might have been meant to be a smile.  “Is there anything else my lady would like to demand of me?”

“It’s not a demand, you bull-headed git. It’s advice. It might be – there are living bears and foxes, living lynx and elk, and sometimes those make us very angry. Or kill us,” she added more quietly. “But we don’t insult them. We don’t insult them because this is the county of the Bear, and because The Bear, The Fox, The Lynx, The Elk, all of them, they are here, and they listen.” Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 25 – Magery

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: The Bear

🐻

“I suggest,” Deline murmured, her voice as low and her body as still as she could manage,” that you try to stay relatively still until I move.  Also, if you are prone to praying, now would be a good time for it.”  Behind him, she move her hand very slowly towards the biggest cluster of berries.  “And when I move – hold your breath.  It would be a good idea to close your eyes, too.”

He grunted in the affirmative. She watched the bear, hungry and ponderous, shifting towards them as it sensed that they were actually prey.  She could hear Carrone’s heartbeat, his breath that he was struggling to keep even.  She got her hand as far as it would move under the cover of Carrone’s back.

Please, Mother Bear, she prayed again, and in one quick movement, she grabbed the berries, crushed them in her hand, and threw them at the bear’s eyes.

With her other hand she grabbed Carrone and hauled him backwards.  They tumbled back together, running before they got turned around, and dove into the cave. Continue reading

NanoWrimo Counter

~

“You think maybe Verve isn’t always going to be reading so maybe she can take a turn on dishes?”
“Afraid not,” Jenivere deadpanned back at him. “I am going to be reading until I die. That’s the problem with being a wizard — you literally can’t stop reading.”

~

She paused by the settee. One writer had spent a particularly long time describing this piece of furniture, in particular the way that is had cachobons set into the arms and three into the back of the piece. While the writer had not assumed they were magical in purpose or nature, such things had not been quite such common knowledge in the Harve i’s time.

~
She’d also ordered take-out from the one place willing to drive out to the middle of Nowhere and Cowsville, a pretty decent pizza-and-pub-food place in the nearest town. The pizza sat on the counter next to a soda; she wasn’t going to get pizza grease on Aunt Asta’s journals, even if she was subjecting them to heat, chemicals, and a light dabbing with distilled water.

OC-Tober, Week One

The idea of OC-tober (here) is to create something featuring one of your OC’s as a listed creature.  This is 6 of the first 7 days. 

2. Vampire

The alley hadn’t been any different from any other alley she’d found herself in: grubby, dark, lined with dumpsters, just out of sight of Leo and Zita doing… whatever it was they did.

When she’d turned around and seen a set of eyes that seemed to draw her in, her last conscious thought had been oh no, not again. Continue reading