Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Thirty-Seven

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

The geyser was still coming.  It was smaller, it was weak, but it was a category-2 hurricane instead of a cat-4. It was still going to cause a lot of wreckage if it was allowed to rip through the city.

Hurricanes.  I could stop hurricanes… I have got to do a lot more studying.

She took a breath and squeezed Ethan’s hand.  She lifted the shields to exactly where they needed to be, she braced her feet, and she pushed back against the wave of power. Continue reading

Total Eclipse of the…

Total Eclipse of the...

“Not now, I just need a little more time.  And maybe a little tea.  Maybe a lot of tea.”  Nitya hadn’t even looked up.  From the crick her neck, she thought maybe she hadn’t looked up in quite a while.  Hours?  Weeks?  No, obviously not weeks

She stood and stretched, keeping her eyes almost entirely on manuscript in front of her and the notes next to it.

“You know you can’t eat over the manuscripts, Nitya, they’re ancient.  Besides, come on, there’s something you have to see.”

Suula tugged on her roommate’s arm, but Nitya wasn’t moving.  “I’ll come eat in a while.  I got some duplicates made; I can drink some tea and have a couple, oh, I don’t know, energy bars while I look over those.  Suula, I’ve got it figured out.  It’s an eclipse.”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you, Nitya!  Come on.”  This time, Suula put some muscle behind the tug.  “It’s an eclipse!”

“What?” Nitya blinked at her friend.  “Suula, you’re an astrophysicist, when’ve you been reading ancient proto-Sumerian?”

“What?  Nitya, you need to get out of this basement once in a while.”

“It’s not a basement, it’s a climate-controlled reading room-”

“That’s three stories underground.  Nitya, come on, or I’m going to carry you.  Bring those duplicates, sure, you can tell me about it on the way up.  I promise you, I promise, I’ll bring you dinner in the cafe on the first sub-level after that and buy you the good tea, but come out.  Come on.  Come on, please?”

It was the please that did it – that and the promise of Suula’s cooking.  With a guilty little twist in her gut, Nitya realized she hadn’t been holding up her end of their shared-home agreement very well lately (Suula cooked and stocked the kitchen; Nitya cleaned).  “All right, all right.  So, the piece of the document I’ve been having trouble with?  The part that was copied over in, I think, early Roman era?  It’s talking about an eclipse of the sun.  Which should have been obvious, but the way they described it – it sounded like – like it came with some weird, ah, side effects.  Some tidal shifts that changed where the moon was in the sky.  Which, of course, I don’t have to tell you isn’t the sort of thing a solar eclipse does-”

“Ah.  Say that again?  Tidal shifts and a solar eclipse?”  Suula had stopped on the stairs and was staring at Nitya.  “Anything else?”

“Well, ah.”  She pulled up her copy on her phone. “Let’s see.  There’s the solar eclipse – it’s talking about the darkest day growing darker – and there were earthquakes, which I thought had to be poetic; the region that it’s talking about here-”

She caught herself as the floor shook.  It didn’t shake much, but she could hear something falling in the floor above them.  “Suula-?”

“You were saying?”

“-that the area it was talking about isn’t on a fault line and isn’t known to have earthquakes at all.  So I thought it was like  – well, it was referencing a great screaming and wailing, and -”

She didn’t even bother commenting this time, because even a story beneath the ground, they could already hear the screaming and wailing.

“So.  Ah.  There’s an unpredicted solar eclipse going on outside.  But maybe, uh.  We should find someplace safe instead?”

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So, I’ve been watching StarGate…

No Two Alike…

No Two Alike...

All around the town, the pixies and the Zippies were zooming, their high-pitched, tiny voices trailing behind them like streamers of sound.

The First Snowfall of the Year – which was differentiated from the constant snow of the town, from the steady white-ness of their landscape and the piling drifts, by a certain glint to it, a certain sharpness to its edges, and a certain extremity to everything about it – was coming down very late in the day, and it was coming down with particular intensity.

For the pixies, and especially for the Zippies, who were (so said the experts, who might know, although others argued) a very small sub-species of kobold, this was very important.  While every person in the town wanted to read their fortune in the First Snowfall – because that was another thing that differentiated this snowfall from all the others that fell all the time; it was very good for divination – the pixies and the Zippies, being wee, were especially good at snowflake divination.  And dressed in their special Cold-Weather Suits, they could handle the individual flakes without fear of melting the flakes – or of freezing their tiny selves.

The train station, especially, was alight with the tiny creatures, such that one couldn’t move to or from the p Continue reading

The Void Stares Back

The Void Stares Back

The thing about black cats – as with the thing with mirrors (broken or otherwise), the thing with ladders (and going beneath them) and the thing with salt (generally, but not always, spilled) is that black cats are, by their nature – by several of their natures – accretors of energy, at least, of certain kinds of energy.

Black cats, you see, are children of the Void in a way no other cats (there is some argument here; some people would like to point out that specific other cats are also children of the void, especially specific Persians).  They carry within them a spark of magic, a spark of belief, a spark of the mystic.

Not specific black cats, not familiars, not the black cats who live in bookshops – every cat born black as midnight, black as coffee, black as a moonless night in a coal chute.  Every black cat is born with the spark of magic in them, more so than any other cat, because they have been touched by lady Nyx herself. They have been touched by the core of the walnut tree, the blackest ink.  They have been touched by the depths of the sea.  All of this, every black cat knows, somewhere deep, deep in her little fuzzy soul. (And you can tell this, looking at them, if you look exactly at the right moment.)

So what does this mean?

This means that you never treat a black cat with disrespect, of course, because it will bounce off of them like so many laser dots off a mirror and it will stick to you like you are glue.

But it means more that that.

It means that if you spend time around a cat, especially a black cat, all of your actions, all of the, ah, vibes, that you send out into the world, they start to accrete.  The cat acts as a holder for all of that, while not taking any of it into herself (or much; a black cat will become as nasty as any other angry cat if she spends too much time around the wrong sort of vibes).  They accrete, and then, like cat hair, those actions shed off onto you. 

So a black cat is not inherently bad luck, no.

A ladder one walks under is not unlucky, either.  A mirror does not hold your soul, and salt – well, salt is best left for its own story some other time.

But a child of the Void will always reflect one’s actions back on one.  Of course, the world itself will do that, in time, it’s just that the process is faster with cats (as most things are).

For a kind-souled person who is giving, a black cat is a loving purr machine, a warm look at the night-time, a pool of darkest hot cocoa puddled on the foot of the bed.

I think you can guess what a black cat can be, when she crosses the path of that other sort of person.



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Dark Moon Rising

Dark Moon Rising

“You were born on a full moon as the new year turned over.”

Uther had heard this story a thousand times, maybe a million.  His mother told it to him a certain way, usually on nights when the full moon shone bright in a clear sky.  His grandmother told it another way, usually when Uther had annoyed her – or when Uther’s father had done so, or when Uther’s grandfather or uncles or, sometimes, Uther’s mother had irritated Grandmama.

His father told it to him once a year, on his birthday, with a big sip of the celebratory wine, and he told it a different way.

But this was the Priestess, and her way was different still.

“You were born on the Occluded Moon, the Full Moon we cannot see.  The skies were black as you came into the world, child, and the old year winked itself out like a candle at its end, and the new year, like you, were born into darkness.  The rains fell hard and nasty that night, ice sticking to everything, and your mother cried as the moon refused, even in its fullness, to look at you.  You were born to a dark moon, child, to a dark year, to an ending rather than a beginning.”

It was more like the way Grandmama told the story than the way either parent did, but there was a malice in the Priestess’ voice that even Grandmama could not quite match.  Continue reading

Annual New Year’s Eve Prompt Call!


As I have done for several New Year’s Eves, I’m opening up a small prompt call (As this is past midnight now for many of my friends, I’ll keep this open for 24 hours).

The theme for this prompt call is

Signs, Portents, & Harbingers

Prompt away!

All may prompt & I will try to write to at least one prompt for everyone (between Now and Monday, because there’s a slight migraineyness happening…)

Please see my Prompting Policies if you have any questions.

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Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Thirty-Six

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

It was time.  They needed to get set up; they needed to get ready.

Lina squeezed all three boys’ hands in turn and let Jackson steer, around to the side of the plant. “If we hadn’t been willing to do this, if we hadn’t been here,” he murmured, “I’m pretty sure they’d have let it blow again, without telling the city where they needed to evacuate. Because that simulation, that tells people they knew this could happen and how bad it could be, and they don’t want to admit anything like that.”

“Sounds like business as normal,” Ethan muttered grimly. “Are we sure they’re not related to us?” Continue reading

ONE MORE Live-Writing Poll

And the Link

Basically: After Sunday’s Live-Writing Day, I still have a large chunk of this novella to write!

I’d like to do a series of shorter streams – 1 or two hours – over January (And possibly the end of December) to get it finished up.

Tell me when would be best for you to show up, please!

LIveWriting Day 2020 – a Summary

Live-Writing Day 2020

LiveWriting Day 2020 is in the bag!  And like everything in 2020, it was a little trickier than expected, with some unanticipated glitches, and some slog points.

But like every LiveWriting Day I’ve done, it was also a lot of fun, a success, and a very good (if long) day.

I also did this on Twitch for the first time, which means I have some numbers I wouldn’t otherwise have.

Path to Affiliate

Requirements Met

Reach 50 Followers  – 9

Stream for 8 Hours – 12.3 (this includes a couple test streams before)

Stream on 7 Different Days (well, 4 earlier test streams) 5

Average of 3 Viewers – 3.5

The average viewers throughout the day floated around 3.8.  I have four different streams yesterday because I turned it off for naps and, once, lost power for five minutes.

Of the four streams, I have the largest unique viewers at 9 and 7 for the others, so the safe assumption is I had a total of 9 viewers!  Thank you, all nine of you!

I know at least two people were in the Drive document and not in the Twitch stream – and thank you to the two of you, too! Continue reading

Kissed the Boys and Made Them Cry….

We weren’t ready.

We’d been training for weeks – months – learning our companions, learning to use the reliquaries we carried with us, learning to use or own strengths and weaknesses.  We’d nearly fallen to a much less important enemy more than once.

We were in no way ready when the Devil walked into our training session.

He laughed at us, though it sounded friendly.  I could see both of his faces – the handsome dark-haired man with the charming smile, and the huge red-skinned demon with the horns so big they defied belief. I could hear both of his voices, the friendly businessman banter and the smoky growl. Continue reading