Tag Archive | baram’s elves

Throwback Thursday – Briars & One Sharp Mother

October 27, 2011. I was in the middle of a Giraffe Call – I often was, back then. 🙂 This one was “Spooks, Creeps, Ghosts, and Ghouls” And Rix had asked for more Baram.

What we got was Baram’s family, in their first appearance:

Jaelie was in the garden when the gods attacked. The garden, such as it was, was her territory, her sanctum and responsibility. She’d been the first to be hired, such as it was, by Baram (“bought” might have been more accurate, but the pay was good and the work not onerous, and she had little to complain of), the first to come looking for him after graduation, intrigued by the legend he’d left behind, and she’d thus been the first to carve out her own place in his haven.

Continue reading it here: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/160866.html

I really like Jaelie. I enjoyed taking Baram’s story and turning him from a cartoonish villain into someone with depth, someone who liked protecting. This wasn’t the first step in that process, but it really helped cement it: Baram was a person; he surrounded himself with people – tough people, but most definitely people.

And I still really, really like Jaelie saying ““Yield better.” 😉

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1192188.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

#ThrowbackThursday: 2012

May 12, 2012: My “Call of Nature/Origins & Creations” Giraffe Call.

And I wrote two throwbacks: the origins, or some of them, of Baram:

“Monster.” The witch twisted in Barypos’ arms and spat in his face. “Monster. Cretin. Beast.”

He lay his knife at her throat. “Soldier.” Her language wasn’t his, but they were close enough, and a warrior learned what he had to, fighting in these lands that weren’t home. “Father. Son.” He shrugged in apology. “I fight where I have to.”

“You killed my husband. My son. My baby.”…

continue reading “Cursed”

… and the Aunt Family’s houses…

“Here.” Carrie and Thomas glanced at each other, and then back at the land, and nodded.

“The road’s almost here, it won’t take us much to bring it this far. We’ll put the main house right on the road, and then we can build two more there and there,” Carrie pointed down the road a ways, “and a small place over there.”

“Woah, woah.” Thomas grinned at Carrie. “The small house is for your sister, then? Sarah? What are the others for?”

continue reading “Building the Homes”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1104957.html. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable

Making Things Work

This is a continuation of There Are Always Choices for [personal profile] rix_scaedu as a fiction exchange. It runs to *cough* 2250 words.

It wasn’t often that Alkyone decided to put her foot down about something. It was even rarer that she interfered in Via or Jaelie’s lives. Living in such close quarters, the three of them held certain privacies very dear.

Today, Aly had grabbed Via by one arm, the Kept Rohanna by the other, and physically dragged them out back, to the small bench-and-fountain set-up Jaelie maintained between the trees. “Not work,” she insisted. “Not rules, nothing of the sort. Just… remember what it was like to be collared, Via.”

“I hated it.” She already knew Rohanna hated it; they’d collared her at knifepoint.

“Not that part. We all hated it. What about the rest?”

“The rest…?” But Aly had stalked off, leaving Via staring in confusion at Rohanna.

Who was, to be fair, staring in confusion right back at Viatrix. “So, um…” She swallowed. “What…?”

Via chewed on her lip. The rest. The orders? No. The sex? Aly was unlikely to suggest Via rape her Kept. Even if the touch…

Touch. And if she was talking about the parts that felt good, Aly had probably meant the whole set of good-Kept feelings. Via took a breath. She’d never been good at that part. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Rohanna scooted back a couple inches on the bench. “Okay… what?

“Okay.” Viatrix took both of the girl’s hands, and tried to hold them gently. “Okay, this is me not being a monster.”

Rohanna squirmed but, notably, didn’t pull her hands out of Via’s loose grip. “Are you going to brand me again?”

Via ran her thumb over the healed mark on the girl’s wrist. “No. Have you – have you been collared before?”

“I lit the last guy on fire who tried.” She’d gone still at the touch on her wrist. Viatrix tried to remember if she’d touched Rohanna since the branding, and couldn’t. No wonder Aly was interfering.

“And yet you took my collar.”

Rohanna’s right hand twitched. Via released it, and the girl touched the thin leather collar around her neck. “I’m pretty sure I can’t survive a hawthorn beheading.”

“Practicality is a good thing. I-” Gentleness was not Viatrix’s stock in trade. She had gotten her reputation for being ruthless. She took a couple breaths while she considered her words. “If you work with me, we can make this not suck.”

“What, if I do what you say, it won’t hurt? I’ve been there, and no, thanks.”

“No, no…” Via couldn’t help smirking. “Not that. I’ve been there, too. It really does suck. No.” She chose her words carefully. “If you will tell me what you want, I can help.”

“But why would you?” Rohanna was staring at their hands. Viatrix had not moved the hand the girl had dropped; now, as if afraid that it would bite her, Rohanna set her hand back on top of Via’s. “I mean, you already have me.”

“Because there’s no reason for this to suck. And…” Her first-year Keeper hadn’t really been a monster. He’d just been an awful Keeper. “And there’s no reason for me to be a lousy Keeper when I can be a good one.”

Rohanna was quiet. Viatrix wondered if the girl was going to laugh at her; she wondered if she was going to flail out, or run away. None of those things were prohibited by her orders, after all. After a while, she shrugged. She was still looking at their hands. “I didn’t know there was such a thing as a good Keeper.”

“Hunh.” Viatrix thought about that one for a while. “Well, you’ve seen Jaelie and Wish, haven’t you?”

“Wish looks lost most of the time.” The edges of Rohanna’s mouth curled upwards.

“Well, that’s because he’s a Returned One. He really is lost.” Bad example, then, but she didn’t have that many good examples to go on. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Rohanna peeked again. “You keep saying that.”

“I’m bad at this, okay?” Via snickered the moment she realized what she’d said, and, by some miracle, Rohanna let herself chuckle, too. “Right. So, you’re miserable.”

“Not miserable. Not miserable all the time. Except that I’m here, and I didn’t want to be here.”

“So, what would make you less miserable?” Viatrix counted to three silently, then mouthed along with Rohanna.

“Not being here. But you knew I was going to say that.”

“Yeah.” Via smirked. “What could make you less miserable being here?”

“I don’t know, maybe if this parasite in my head wasn’t telling me I was horrible all the time.” The answer wasn’t so much snapped out as sidled, like Rohanna had been thinking about it for some time and was testing the waters.

Viatrix closed her eyes. “Right. The bond. Okay, this is going to be weird… but Ro, I think you and I need to be friends.”


The boy flinched at everything, and every time he flinched, he reminded Baram of other boys, younger boys (because even he, in this lifetime, was younger than the skinny boy he was Keeping now), who had flinched and winced away.

He couldn’t order the boy not to flinch. He could, but Baram and his girls with him were learning how to not be monsters, and Jaelie had been very firm on that one. Monsters tell you not to look unhappy. Good people help you learn how to be happy.

It was mostly theory, for all of them, reaching in the dark and only knowing that there were sharp edges.

Viatrix could talk to her angry Kept. Jaelie petted her would-be returned god and praised him until he calmed. Baram scared people by his very presence, and he did not talk well.

You do not have weaknesses unless you allow yourself to be weak. Professor Fridmar had said that, more than once, during his lessons. Your weakness can be strengths.

Baram looked at the boy. At Kavan. Kavan winced. Slowly, feeling as if he was swimming through snow, Baram worked through the problem.

The kid was old, nearly fifty, he’d said. He was old, and he’d known pain and ownership and renaming. It made Baram feel awkward, and young, and stupid.

But Baram was both old and young. “Do you-” the boy flinched. He kept going anyway. “Do you know the Words for Mind?”

The boy’s chin came up and his eyes opened wide. “I.. yes. Yes, mas- Baram? I can use Intinn.”

“And know?“ Baram pushed on, despite the way Kavan’s shoulders were trembling.

“…and Idu, yessir.” Kavan had gone pale, even his lips bloodless. “Sir?”

Baram realized his hand was clenching into a fist. It wasn’t Kavan’s fault. It wasn’t even really about Kavan. “R-” Please. Jaelie had pointed that one out, too.

Baram had grumbled; it didn’t make it less of an order.

“It makes it feel more like there’s a choice. And sometimes that’s what matters.”

Baram cleared his throat. “Please read my mind.”

Kavan’s eyes opened wide. “Sir… sir, are you sure?

“Words… words are hard.” He felt a frustrated rumble in the back of his throat and stifled it. Not quickly enough: the boy flinched again. “It’s hard to talk, easy to see it in my mind.”

“Sir.” Kavan ducked his head. “I… I can.”

“Please.” The word was a hard one. But Baram forced it out yet again. “It’s important.”

Kavan nodded. He did not look, Baram thought, any more comfortable; he kept peeking at Baram rather than looking directly, and his skin was still pale. But his voice didn’t tremble as he did the Working.

Baram focused on the boy. He tried not to think of other terrified Kept he’d known, but he knew they would show up. He tried to remember – tried, and almost succeeded – the cold and wet field he’d woken up in, the moment he’d found himself in this life.

The boy had his eyes closed. Baram could feel his presence in his mind, a gentle touch, simply enough to let Baram know where he was.

“You worry.” Baram kept his voice quiet. “You don’t know me. And I don’t…”

“Show anything,” Kavan offered. There was a bit of wonder in his voice. “You… sorry, sir.”

“S’okay.” Baram closed his eyes. “You can look.”

Kavan’s touch was different than other times Baram’s mind had been read – gentler, more tentative. But even so, Baram could feel old memories coming up, whispering to him in the way that they did.

The boy murmured while he worked. “And then you… And then… oh. Oh dear.” Baram did not blush, was not the sort to do such things, but the oh dear was so prim, and the memory so vulgar, that he dropped his head and looked away, even with his eyes closed.

And then there was a brushing against places that Baram never touched. “This…” He could hear the way the boy swallowed. “May I?”

It was an effort of will to say yes. That spot, those places, they didn’t want to be remembered, even more so than most of Baram’s scrambled history. But the boy had actively asked for something, so… “Yes.”

These memories didn’t really flood. They poked up their heads cautiously, diffidently, much like Kavan. Look at this, do you want to remember it?

No, no, of course he didn’t. But he would.

The field. He was in a field, sprawled out on the dirt, his lungs hurting like he’d fallen. That was where the memories stopped. That was where…

He was falling, tumbling. His chute hadn’t deployed and he was tumbling down, down, every downwards. He was going to land. This was going to hurt. This was going to…

He was in the field, he was laying there staring at the sky. He was panting, whining like an animal, and Kavan was holding him tightly.

“Easy, easy. Easy, si- Boss. I’ve got you.” The boy stroked Baram’s back, and the world righted itself. “I’ve got you, boss.”

Jaelie was having a bit of trouble with their “guests.”

Ardell and Delaney had figured out quickly that they couldn’t get out of the trap-basement unless Jaelie – or someone else – let them out. They’d figured out soon after that they couldn’t easily Work out of it, either, and they’d figured out soon after that that Baram wasn’t going to talk to them.

Jaelie didn’t tell them why. She wasn’t entirely certain why herself.

She had told them the conditions of their release. It wasn’t the first time someone had ended up in their “guest house,” and the terms were almost always the same. Ardell had been willing to swear the oaths. The problem was Delaney.

“Fuck you! We’re talking to Baram or nobody, and if you don’t let us out of here soon, you’re going to regret it. I’m going to peel the pretty skin right off of you, you miserable little…”

Jaelie let the door slam shut again. “They can wait another couple hours for the food,” she told Aloysius.

He hesitated. “Do you want me to watch them?”

Jaelie started to shake her head, and then paused herself. “Do you have some reason to think you ought to?”

He was getting more and more hesitant, she noticed. He didn’t deal all that well with the collar. “Something feels wrong, Mistress. They are planning something.”

“I trust your judgement on this one.” Jaelie watched the way his shoulders twitched, and leaned over to kiss both his cheeks. “Good job. Please, do watch the guest house, then.”

He bowed to her. He liked to do that, sometimes. Jaelie found she liked it. “I will do so.” He settled into a tree, the thorns making way for him, seeming content to watch all day if he needed to.

Jaelie reminded herself to check on him before bed time, and went back to those things that could not be neglected forever.

She didn’t have to wait until bedtime. It was just as the sun set that she heard the rumble, the rumble followed by a scream, the scream followed by a startled set of grunts.

They dove into action like they had too many times before. Aly grabbed the kids. Via grabbed her sword. Jaelie was already calling on the trees, who were telling her fire, fire.

And standing in a hole in their yard that had not been there before, the bitch of a visitor was throwing fireballs. At Aloysious. At Jaelie’s Kept, and at her trees.

She was shouting off Workings as she ran, spitting off insults in between the Workings, and, as she doused the entire yard in sudden rainfall, doing her best to get between the “guests” and her Kept. She could stop them. She could stop them, if her trees could just reach them, if – they were backing towards the gate, still throwing off projectiles and force, things rain could stop. There were broken tree limbs everywhere, and they were still throwing off force bolts.

“Let them go.” The boss’s voice came from the doorway. “They’re not worth it.” He followed with a series of Workings, throwing up a shield around Jaelie, and, she noticed gratefully, her trees and her Kept as well. “They’re just strangers we will know not to let in again.”

For the boss, that was a speech. Jaelie leaned against Aloysious and panted as their former guests got away. “Are you okay?”

He wrapped an arm around her ribcage, for once too exhausted to be tentative. “You protected me.”

“Well, yeah.” She craned her neck back to look at him. “And the Boss protected us. That’s… that’s just how it works.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/905521.html. You can comment here or there.

Turn Left Story One: Baram’s Elves

From the Turn Left meme here: http://aldersprig.livejournal.com/1005760.html; off of this story: http://aldersprig.livejournal.com/306171.html in the Baram’s Elves sequence, an AU.

When the first creature broke through – fell through, really; her hedges were hungry and she’d taken lessons from Valentina as well as Valerian – Jaelie speared him to the ground. “Submit,” she demanded.

He coughed blood on her shoes, blood that slowly began eating at the leather of her boots. “Bitch,” he spat out. “I submit.”

Viatrix’s blade hesitated.

“You’re mine, then.” Jaelie twisted the spear. “Say it.”

He spat again, the acid in his blood beginning to dissolve her pants. “Yours, fine.”

Once he’d fallen, the battle went quickly. The rest either submitted or died, leaving Via, Aly, and Jaelie with four angry returned-God Kept between them.

After the third act of near-disobedient, nearly-deadly sabotage in a week, Baram – who had been grumblingly patient – put his foot down. “No Kept in the house. No other men in the house.”

The women took stock. Something was going to have to change. “I’ll go.” Jaelie stepped forward. “I’ll… do something with them, and come back.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/884379.html. You can comment here or there.

There Are Always Choices

After And We Are Not Monsters.

The girl called Rohanna did not take well to the collar.

Viatrix had sympathy for that. Nobody in their house had ever taken well to submission and, to the girl, they were the enemy. They had stolen her from her crew at hawthorn-point.

What she did not have was tolerance. “No.” She knew she was getting sharp, and could not manage to soften her tone. “No, what did I say?”

Rohanna snarled. “If I washed the floor I didn’t have to wash the dishes.”

“Try again, little mage.”

“Don’t call me that!” Rohanna swung back from Via’s hand. “If I cleaned the floor… well… I didn’t have to wash the dishes.”

“Better.” This time, Via caught Rohanna’s collar. “So. Floor again, or dishes. Your choice.”


The boy – not a boy, the Kept – named Kavan didn’t know quite what to do with, about, or for Baram.

It was mutual. Baram found that the slender fae with the fragile-looking body brought out memories, and he’d never been very comfortable with the sort of memories he was getting now. He found that the not-kid brought out a protective urge, and for the first time that he could functionally remember, the urge was meet, right, and by the Law. And he found that the little Kept frustrated the living shit out of him, in large part by being terrified.

“Your choice,” he repeated. Again. “My bed or the couch-bed.”

“Whatever my master wants.” Kavan stared at the ground

“Your master. Wants you to choose.”


The one called Ardell could be made to see sense.

The other one, the one named Delaney, was rabid. She hissed, spat and swore, none of it in any way useful. It seemed she knew the Boss, and wanted the Boss to help them. Everything else was irrelevant.

So Jaelie spoke to Ardell. “The Boss is busy, cleaning up after the people you led here.”

“I knew you could handle them.” The man was insufferably smug. “I knew Baram could handle them. He’s as tough as a truck.”

“Tougher. But you brought them to our door, and that causes problems.”

Delaney said something. Jaelie watched Ardell. “So. We’re gonna need oaths, or we’re gonna need to take information from your mind. Your choice.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/799051.html. You can comment here or there.

And We Are Not Monsters

First in this story: Unwelcome Guests
Previous: The Clean-Up

1016 words, to Rix’s commissioned continuation.

“Come.” Viatrix led the her new Kept into the back yard, murmuring what she thought of as “Addergoole Standard Kept Rules” as she went.

She didn’t look at the girl until they reached the stone circle that, in some other owner’s time, had been a back patio and outdoor kitchen. She didn’t need to; the way the orders were spun, there was little the girl could do.

When she reached the center of the circle, then, she turned. “Kneel.” A Word awoke the fire in the grill. “Give me your wrists.”

Her Kept did as she was told, although she was clearly fighting it. “Mistress… bitch.” She forced the word out with a snarl.

Viatrix found herself grinning. “Yes. Both of those. What name are you called?”

“They Called me Red Mage, but my father named me Rohanna.” She held her wrists out, but her hands were trembling. “What are you going to do to me…. you bitch?”

The swearing was twisted out of her mouth, forced out around heavy breathing and eyes that were wider than they ought to be. Via grabbed both wrists in one hand.

“You’re Mine for the next year. I want to be sure you don’t forget it.”

She could see the moment the girl’s eyes landed on her own wrists, on brand she had never bothered to heal. “You…”

“We’ve all done our time.” She muttered a Working that would shut off the pain, and made the branding in one quick motion. “And we are not monsters.”

“This way.” Baram led the boy into the house, pausing only to knock the safe-knock on the basement door. Aly wouldn’t thank him if he didn’t let her out of there as soon as possible. She was almost as good with kids as he was.

“My room.” He had the biggest room in the house, the biggest bed. It was, after all, his cave. “Yours, for six months.”

The boy fell to his knees again, his hands tucked behind his back this time. “Sir.”

It reminded Baram, uncomfortably, of the people in the trap-basement, of the time at school. “Get – no-.” He sat down on his bed with a thump. “I don’t need you kneeling. I don’t need you sirring me.”

“Sir?” The boy’s eyes went wide & he slapped both hands over his mouth. His “sorry” was muffled, what showed of his expression terrified.

Baram growled. “Come here… shit.” The boy was skittering over without getting to his feet. “Fine. Damnit.” He looked down at the boy, who looked terrified. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

The boy glanced up, swallowed, and looked back down at the floor. “Sir?”

“I didn’t take you to hurt you. I took you to hurt them.”

“Sir?” This time, it was a squeak. Baram grumbled. Words were hard. Orders were harder.

He scooped the boy into his lap instead, and, as if he was touching a newborn, ran his fingers down the boy’s back. “You have a name?”

“Lots – lots of names, sir.”

“One of those, hunh?” It was an effort to remember how to be gentle, to be that careful. Baram’s girls were so tough, so thick-skinned. He set one hand over the boy’s hip. “My name is Baram.” Start with the simple things. “This is my house. The girls – they work for me.”

The boy looked at him, and swallowed. “The Black ‘Blazers called me Tommy. But… but my mother called me Kavan and my Mentor called me Wild Eyes.” He ducked his head suddenly. “Sir.”

“I can call you Kavan.” He patted the boy’s back. “So, you’re an adult?”

A snort of laughter, surprised, escaped before Kavan slapped both hands over his mouth. “Oh gods. Sir… sorry. Yes. Yes, I’m an adult. Nearly fifty.”

Baram barked out a laugh. “Older than me. So, old enough to understand.”

Another swallow, and a peek through those fingers. “Sir?”

“That there are monsters in the world.”

“Yes, yes sir.” There was no where for Kavan to go, perched on Baram’s lap and trapped, Baram’s hand on his hip holding him there. But he looked like he was trying to shrink away to nothingness.

He wasn’t a child. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t fragile, did it?

“And there are people who aren’t monsters.” He tried to sound gentle. It was hard; he had to sound like he was whispering, mostly. “And we are not monsters.”


“There are things you need to know about us.” Jaelie sat perched on the top stair of the trap-basement, Aloysius standing guard behind her. Their “guests” couldn’t make it out of the trap, not the way it was set up, but that was no reason to be incautious.

“Do I like I give a shit about your things?” The woman, Delaney, was snarling, fierce like a wild thing. Jaelie was glad she’d gone into the trap calmly, because fighting her would have been interesting. “Let us the fuck out of here and let us talk to Baram.”

“If the boss doesn’t want to talk to you, there’s nothing I can do about it. There are things you need to know about us.”

It wasn’t the first time Jaelie had given a speech like this one.

“I told you, I don’t give a-”

“Del.” The other one, Ardell, was soft and slick of voice. “Please continue, jae-”

“I’m called Briar Rose, sa’Diamondback. The things you need to know start with this: we are not on the side of angels.”

The woman, who had fallen silent for a moment, burst into laughter, fake and bubbly. “Who is, these days? I didn’t see them coming down for the war.”

Jaelie grinned, not because it was funny, but because the woman hadn’t realized she was in trouble yet. “We’re not on the side of devils, either. We’re on our side.” She met the man’s eyes, because he seemed to be paying attention.

He nodded slowly. “That’s the first thing to know. What’s the second?”

Now Jaelie was grinning. “That we are not monsters… and this isn’t where the monsters live.”

Next: There Are Always Choices.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/781908.html. You can comment here or there.

The Clean-up

First in this story: Unwelcome Guests
Previous: Kicking Out Unwelcome Guests

I have more planned, but this was a good stop point for this part. 673 words.

“Your target was never here.” Baram punctuated his sentence with a sharp kick to the bikers’ leader’s ribs. The woman grunted, and, on the other side of the field of battle, the nearly-dead tank made a pained noise.


Worry about it later. Baram picked up the boy. “This one stays with us. And your flamethrower.”

“Keep the girl, we need the boy.”

Even more interesting. Baram shifted his weight to his back foot, Jaelie’s cue to pick up the negotiation. “If you need the boy, even more reason we should keep him. You were the ones who were dumb enough to attack us on our home territory.”

“We were hunting down a target the boy said was here.”

“Then he’s not that good, is he? Both stay.”

“If we swear that our gang will never bother you or yours again…”

“Then you’ll be making reasonable precautions to stay alive.” Jaelie relented, just a bit. She shifted forward. “Look, we’ll keep the boy for six months. Come back then, and you can have him.”

“And the girl?”

“She’s ours. Come back in two years and we might – might – talk abut it.”

“You could-”

“We could kill you. I wouldn’t even have to get my hands dirty.” Baram admired, silently, the way that Jaelie made it sound casual. She was tough as nails. All of them were. “The tree will do it for me.”

“Six months on the boy. He’s yours until then. Two years on the girl. She’s her own woman, good luck holding on to her.”

“We’ll hold on to her.” Via jumped down from the wall and grinned. “One way or another. You get on down the road before we change our mind.”

Baram put a foot on the fire-thrower’s arrow-pinned wrists and nodded to Jaelie. She grabbed the seer boy and hauled him to his feet, pushing him against the wall.

The trees let go of the biker boss, and what was left of her merry band managed to get themselves onto their bikes and onto the road.

That left Baram and the girls to deal with the prisoners. “You.” He toed the girl on the ground. “You belong to Viatrix for the next year.”

The girl grunted. “Or what?”

“Or I let the trees have you.”

She twisted to look at the trees, which were reaching out to her with greedy arms. “I Belong to Viatrix for the next year.”

“Yes, you do.” Via pulled out the arrow with a yank, and the girl screamed. “Come with me.” She shot off instructions as she walked, and the girl pulled herself to her feet.

If she stayed that rough, Baram would have to talk to her. Hopefully, it settled down once she had the girl under control.

“Do you want me to get Aly, Boss?” Jaelie manhandled the boy over to him. “I mean, I already have Wish, and he’s enough for any two normal people…”

Baram showed his teeth. He’d meant it to be a smile, but Swish made him snarl. “No. No, this one’s mine.” He poked the boy in the chest. “Six months.”

The boy squirmed, and couldn’t quite look Baram in the face. “Six months.” His Adam’s apple bobbed as he tried to clear his throat. “I Belong to you for the next six months, sir.” He dropped to his knees and offered up his wrists. “I come to you with nothing, and everything I have will come from you.”

Baram shot a glare at Jaelie and Via, because he couldn’t very well glare at the kid, could he? He wrapped his hand carefully around the boy’s outstretched wrists. “You Belong to me,” he agreed, “for the next six months. To…” Aly or Jaelie would have done the words better. “to use and to protect. To shelter, to command. Yes?”

Now, the boy looked at him. “Yes.”

They still had two former “friends” in the basement to deal with. But Baram figured their actual prisoners of war might come first. “Come, then. Be Mine.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/774557.html. You can comment here or there.

Teaser: Baram’s Elves Piece for Rix

“Your target was never here.” Baram punctuated his sentence with a sharp kick to the bikers’ leader’s ribs. The woman grunted, and, on the other side of the field of battle, the nearly-dead tank made a pained noise.


Worry about it later. Baram picked up the boy.

Commissions are open here!

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/770029.html. You can comment here or there.

Kicking out unwelcome guests

This is a continuation of Unwelcome Guests, Part the Third for my “More Please” tag.

The girls knew what to do. They had fought to defend their property – their home – before. Hell, they had been fighters long before they met Baram.

The trees knew what to do, but Baram didn’t think too hard about that. He let them grab the woman in the lead, while he went for the guy that was probably their tank. Shit, shit, the second bitch was a fireball-thrower; he moved the tank between him and the thin, ashen girl and kept hitting.

It was a quick fight, Jaelie and Via hitting from the walls, shooting rowan bullets and hawthorn arrows, the trees doing their share of damage, and Baram in the middle of the fight like some sort of bull in a china shop.

The bikers were fae, but they weren’t organized, and they weren’t all that good at being fae – except the ashen one he’d thought was a bitch, the fireball thrower. Baram took her down hard, broke her jaw and pinned her wrists with a hawthorn arrow.

By then, the tree had the leader and her probably-second-in-command, and everyone else except her maybe-a-seer-boy were down. He looked between the three of them, then decided sitting down with his hands on his neck was a good idea.

Baram grunted. “You okay?”

“We’re fine, boss. They’re not all that good at this.”

“No teamwork.” He toed the fireball-thrower. “This one’s interesting, though.”

“So’s the boy.”

“We’re not keeping them.”

“He might be useful.”

“Another… shit, he fainted. Okay.” He walked over to the tree and poked the leader in the stomach. Her eyes and stomach were about all that was visible… that had to hurt. “You.”

She grunted incoherently. Baram poked her again.

“You take your people and you leave. We’re keeping one – or two -”

“-as the fee for having the stupid gall to attack us,” Jaelie filled in.

The tank, who wasn’t quite dead, it seemed, spoke up. “What about our target?”

“Never here.” Baram added a kick to punctuate it. “Got it?”

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Paying, Forward

This is a continuation of a piece chosen by random-date-choice.

It follows Cost of Living and Paying the Rent in the Baram’s Elves story-set of the Fae Apoc: Addergoole setting.

It made Jaelie nervous to be away from the family this long.

Not that it was, in the grand scheme of things, all that long: two weeks at Addergoole, and a two-day drive in each direction.

But it was long enough that just about anything could happen. In two weeks, their portion of the city had fallen to pieces. In two weeks, Chicago had been reduced to rubble. In two weeks, she’d gone from being a relatively happy, normal girl… to being Amadeus’ pet.

In two weeks, what would happen to her family? What would happen to Aloysius?

At the moment, she didn’t need to be drawn a diagram; she knew what, in general, was happening to and with him and a tall, dark woman with a scarab-beetle Change.

“You have a very nice young man.” Dr. Avonmorea – Regine – took a seat next to Jaelie at the bar. Jaelie swallowed a startled reaction – she hadn’t expected to see the Director here, of all places. “Genetically, as well as in demeanor and appearance. I would be interested in purchasing his contract from you.”

Jaelie swallowed her drink and, with more effort than she’d thought it would ever take, looked the Director in the eye. “He’s not for sale. I promised him that.”

“Ah, well.” There was, as always, very little expression on the older woman’s face. “Would you consider ‘renting’ him to me again, at the very least?”

“How frequently, and for how long?”

“Ideally, every six months for fourteen days each time, as long as I can find willing partners for him. I would continue to pay the same stud fee, of course, with a potential renegotiation as we see what sort of children he breeds, and with the same caveat you asked for in this session, with parental rights reverting to you if the mother does not want them.”

Baram would like that. They were getting paid a hefty fee for the studding, and all in very useful goods for their little enclave.

What would Aloysius think? Jaelie took a sip, found her drink empty, and set the glass down. “I can agree to one more session, in six months, and then we’ll renegotiate. I have to consult with the rest of the crew.”

Crew. She tasted the word on her tongue, and found she liked it. What’s more, the Director was smiling.

“Very good. I think we’ll all be pleased with the results.”

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